Huge China trade hub planned for Irish countryside

Discussion in 'China' started by cir, May 2, 2012.

  1. cir

    cir Senior Member Senior Member

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    Tue May 1, 2012 11:19am EDT

    * 1.4 billion euro development receives planning permission
    * Bids to build on growing ties between countries

    DUBLIN May 1 (Reuters) - Ireland gave phase one of a huge Chinese trading hub planning permission on Tuesday, paving the way for what would be one of the biggest developments in the struggling euro zone country.

    China has expressed growing interest in Ireland's economy in recent months, with leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping choosing Ireland as the only European stop in an international tour in February.

    Beijing's sovereign wealth fund has also signed a memorandum to explore investment opportunities in Ireland and Tuesday's decision will allow building to start on a complex that could eventually see Chinese manufacturers and traders display goods to international buyers in 3,000 demonstration halls.

    The 1.4 billion euro ($1.85 billion) 'Europe China Trading Hub', set on 140 hectares of mostly agricultural land in the midlands county of Westmeath, aims to become Europe's largest source of Chinese branded goods, according to the site's Irish developers.

    They said Ireland was chosen as the preferred location due to its European Union membership, English speaking workforce, attractive corporate tax rate and stable industrial relations environment.

    Ireland's ultra low corporate tax rate, which it guards vigorously against pockets of opposition in Europe, has helped it attract large multinationals to the country from eight of the ten world's biggest pharmaceutical companies to tech giants like Google and Facebook.

    Acting as a gateway between China and buyers from Europe and the US, the development will provide space for Chinese traders to display their products with a view to generating bulk orders which will then be delivered from China.

    The developers say the goods traded will range from electric cars to fabrics and machinery, with a particular focus on the high-end market and that the hub could ultimately provide direct and indirect employment for 9,000 people, as well as bringing 1.5 million visitors to Ireland every year.

    The site would also include shops, restaurants, pubs, a theatre, cinemas and a library.

    The first phase, which will see just under a quarter of the overall development initially built, could be open for business by 2015, according to the head of the nearby Athlone Business Park which proposed the development.

    Asked if it would be able to finance the project, John Tiernan said the response from the private backers and promoters behind the project all pointed to a positive outcome. ($1 = 0.7555 euros) (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Ron Askew)

    Huge China trade hub planned for Irish countryside | Reuters
     
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  3. cir

    cir Senior Member Senior Member

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    China trade hub 'in three years'

    Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - 05:17 PM

    The team behind an ambitious plan to create an international China trade hub the size of a town is aiming to have phase one up and running in three years.

    Athlone Business Park Ltd wants to get a jump on rival bidders in England for the lucrative one-stop trade and exhibition centre which will initially create 1,530 jobs.

    The €175m first phase of the Europe China Trading Hub at Creggan, near Athlone, will provide a base for Chinese companies to promote business in Europe and across the western world.

    John Tiernan, chief executive of Athlone Business Park Ltd, said it is aiming for construction to begin by the end of next year.

    “It’s big, yes. Some people have been gobsmacked by the overall scale of the masterplan but that is only if everything comes to pass,” he said.

    “I’m confident. But until the point when I’m told ’start pouring the concrete’, there’s always some doubt. And it’s worth noting it’s a project that does not produce waste water pipes with gunge coming out – it’s a project that produces jobs.”

    The focus of the hub is to give executives and buyers on the US east coast easy access to the Chinese market without costly and time-consuming visa applications and travel.

    The aim is to open phase one by mid-2015. If plans come to fruition and another five phases can be filled – an estimated €1.4bn development – the full site would be operational by 2022, employing about 9,000 workers, two-thirds of whom must be Irish or European.

    It is understood Chinese money will finance the project and Irish banks will have no role in the lending.

    The development – which will also have a special Irish section to promote domestic business – will house massive exhibition centres for buyers to assess products before placing bulk orders.

    While discussions have taken place with some Chinese manufacturers, no firms have signed up to base themselves at the Midlands facility.

    Mr Tiernan said Athlone Business Park Ltd, whose directors include Aidan Kelly and Michael O’Sullivan, have been speaking to a number of Chinese investors over the last three years. They envisage that it will attract 1,750 visitors a day.

    Charles Stanley-Smith, chairman of heritage body An Taisce, warned that if the units are not filled the development would be Ireland’s largest ghost estate.

    The plan is reckoned to be the largest development ever proposed in Ireland - although a rival development has been given the all-clear by authorities in Wirral, Merseyside.

    An Taisce also warned about the similar development, and smaller-scale trade hubs already established across Europe.

    “Europe will probably be able to accommodate a number of these hubs but we want to be first – first up, best dressed,” Mr Tiernan said.

    Phase one focuses mainly on showcasing and is a fraction of the overall 140-hectare plan which also includes two five-star hotels, a Chinese palace and serviced apartments.

    If all five phases are complete it would house a youth hostel, cinema, arts centre, recreation and massage centres, golf course, multi-purpose entertainment hall, conference facility, medical centre, fire station, primary school, kindergarten, railway station, two bus stations, an underground car park for 1,370 vehicles and basement transport hub, and and a “China Tower” 90m (295ft) taller than the Dublin Spire.:thumb:

    In total its footprint will be near a million square metres.

    Phase one, which will create 1,200 construction jobs, is made up of an oval-shaped four-storey reception building 20m (66ft) high, housing customer service facilities, meeting rooms and administrative offices, and the near 13,000 square metre China Hall for themed temporary exhibitions.

    It is envisaged China Hall would be transformed every few months to showcase a different sector of Chinese manufacturing and promote associated businesses.

    There will also two 30,000 square metre curved roof showcase spaces known as Mega Exhibition Halls offering companies flexible layout trading space for multiple showrooms – about 270 smaller units at a time.

    The roofs will be fitted with special grass or sedum with solar panels. The hub is also designed to house nine smaller exhibition halls some of which can be sub-divided.

    An Bord Pleanala attached 37 conditions, mostly technical, to the planning decision.

    Concerts have been banned at the exhibition centres and the hub will only be allowed to operate 10am to 7pm Monday to Friday and there must be a bus service to and from Dublin Airport for visitors and another in and out of Athlone town, as well as cycle ways, for employees.

    Barry Kehoe, director of services in Westmeath County Council’s planning division, said the authority welcomed the green light.

    “We welcome the positive decision and we hope that it proceeds as soon as possible because of the economic impact in the region,” he said.


    Read more: China trade hub 'in three years' | Irish Examiner
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The Irish would do anything to get even for the years of ridicule heaped on them!

    Before the Asians came, the butt of ire was on these 'uncouth' and 'loutish' Irish.

    Once the Chinese will awash the British Isles and elsewhere and will make good money, the ire will shift to the Chinese!

    No native likes 'outsiders' no matter how much 'insider' they become, becoming better off than them and leaving them jobless. They forget that all jobs are not behind the desk and airconditioned offices with little Chinaman and brown boys serving the tea and getting their lunches!
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  5. cir

    cir Senior Member Senior Member

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    If only the Indians were as smart as the Irish。。。:rofl:
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    We are.

    That is why we are delighted that the Chinese are coming!

    They will be as loved as they are loved in Africa.

    The only issue is that the Europeans get angered faster when they find others usurping their space and livelihood!

    They are a laid back lot and cannot really compete with the Asians who are more industrious and hard working. And so they get left behind in their own native land. And they sure can then develop a short fuse!

    The last laugh will be on the Chinese!
     

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