Senior business leaders from Asia-Pacific Region meet Irish exporters at Enterprise Ireland "Routes to Growth" conference

25th April 2018

Route to Asia Conference

Enterprise Ireland targeting 50% growth in Irish exports to region by 2020
Launch of new ‘Going Global’ guides for prospective Irish exporters

Over 100 business leaders and buyers from the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region will come together with over 200 Irish companies at the ‘Routes to Growth’ Asia Pacific Conference in the Aviva Stadium today. The first-of-its-kind event is jointly hosted by Enterprise Ireland and Cathay Pacific, and will be opened by Minister of State for Trade, Employment and Business, Pat Breen, T.D. It represents a significant marker of the increasing focus in Ireland on exporting to the APAC region, as a key element of Enterprise Ireland’s market diversification strategy in response to Brexit.

Exports to the Asia-Pacific region from Ireland more than doubled in the last five years since breaking the €1bn mark in 2012, delivering double-digit growth for Enterprise Ireland clients in 2016 with an impressive 16% year on year gain. As the second fastest growing region for Enterprise Ireland backed companies, Enterprise Ireland is targeting to increase exports to the region by 50% by 2020.

The APAC region is home to half the world’s population and is forecast to host 64% of the global middle class by 2030. In addition, Ireland’s connectivity to the APAC region will see a significant boost in June 2018 with the commencement of the first direct flight between Dublin and Hong Kong launching on June 2nd by Cathay Pacific, the first ever direct flight from Ireland to the Asian mainland.

In tandem with the conference, Enterprise Ireland is also today launching a new series of ‘Going Global’ guides for Irish companies doing business in nine APAC countries including China, Singapore, Vietnam and India.

The Routes to Growth conference will offer key insights and perspectives from existing Irish exporters, and leading experts and senior decision makers from Asia Pacific on doing business in the region. There will also be targeted sessions on Aviation, Financial Services, Digital Technology, Healthcare, Construction and Agri-tech. The event will be jointly hosted by the CEO of Enterprise Ireland, Julie Sinnamon and General Manager Europe of Cathay Pacific, James Ginns, and will be moderated by Former CNN Correspondent, Gina London. Speakers will include Dicky Yip, Non-Exec Director PingAn Insurance and ex-CEO HSBC China, Jim Thompson, Chairman & CEO of Crown Worldwide Group Hong Kong. Among the Enterprise Ireland client companies exporting to the region who will be in attendance are Fenergo, Decawave and Cubic Telecom.

Minister of State for Trade, Employment and Business, Pat Breen, T.D. commented: “Ireland’s reach into new markets in the AsiaPAC region has grown substantially in recent years. We are strongly represented across the region, with state agencies, embassies and consulates now present in sixteen cities. Today’s Routes to Growth Conference could not be timelier, given the imperative, as a result of Brexit and other global developments, to expand our trading footprint and explore new international markets. The Irish Government and Enterprise Ireland offer a range of supports for companies looking to break into the AsiaPAC region. Today’s conference is an excellent opportunity to hear great Irish business success stories in the region and the learnings they can offer prospective exporters.”

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland commented: “With Irish exports to the Asia-Pacific region more than doubling in recent years, and 600 Enterprise Ireland clients exporting to the region, Enterprise Ireland’s ambition is to increase exports by further 50% by 2020. Last year alone we had 70 new first-time exporters to the region. Expanding the reach of Irish exports in new and emerging markets is a key priority for Enterprise Ireland and is a central element of our market diversification strategy in response to Brexit. Today’s conference is an excellent chance for Irish exporters and potential exporters with global ambition to meet with prospective buyers and investors and senior business leaders from the AsiaPAC region to learn more about business opportunities in the region.

“We are also launching our ‘Going Global’ guides for a number of AsiaPAC countries, which provide essential advice to Irish companies on business, legal, administrative and cultural factors they should consider when exploring these markets.” added Julie Sinnamon.

James Ginns, General Manager Europe of Cathay Pacific, said: “Cathay Pacific’s new route will be Ireland’s first and only direct flight to Hong Kong. This will open up many opportunities not only for Chinese and Irish tourists interested in travelling abroad, but also Irish businesses looking to grow their business into the Asia Pacific markets. Promoting multi-lateral trade between Ireland, China and Asia is incredibly important for us at Cathay Pacific, and we are well placed to do this as we offer seamless passenger and freight connections to more than 80 cities across Asia-Pacific.

With China set to become Ireland’s 4th biggest export market by 2030, this new route has huge significance for Irish businesses that are already exporting to or hoping to export to China and Asia Pacific. Cathay Pacific currently offers Ireland the earliest possible arrival into Asia, meaning fresh Irish produce and temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals will arrive on the same day at 7am in Hong Kong, to seamlessly connect and arrive at their final destination in China or Asia before noon. Of course, passengers also benefit from getting a full business day in Hong Kong or to connect beyond.
I look forward to launching the new route and giving everyone in Ireland a shorter, faster and premium link to Asia.”

Further conference information is available here


Note to Editors:

Links to Enterprise Ireland’s Asia Pac Going Global Guides

Going Global - Exporting to China

Going Global -Exporting to India

Going Global - Exporting to Australia

Going Global - Exporting to Japan

Going Global - Exporting to Singapore

Going Global - Exporting to Hong Kong

Going Global - Exporting to South Korea

Going Global - Exporting to Malaysia

The speakers at the Routes to Growth Conference will include:
• Dicky Yip, Non-Exec Director PingAn Insurance, Ex CEO HSBC China
• Jim Thompson, Chairman & CEO of Crown Worldwide Group Hong Kong
• David Harmon, VP Global Public Affairs Huawei Technologies
• Dermot Mannion, Ex Royal Brunei Airlines/Aer Lingus
• Martin Murray, Executive Director, Asia Matters
• MJ Guan, Partner China Ireland Growth Technology Fund & West Summit Capital
• Elaine Coughlan, Founding Managing Partner, Atlantic Bridge
• Paul Costigan, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Decawave

The Routes to Growth Asia PAC conference will provide those in attendance with:

  • Opportunity to meet and hear from 80+ CEOs, Market Experts, Buyers and Peers about sectoral opportunities and where their business needs to go to win in Asia Pacific. 
  • Better understand how to start and scale exports to this diverse growth region. 
  • Participate in targeted sessions on Aviation, Financial Services, Mobile, Healthcare, Construction and Agritech led by leading experts and senior decision makers from Asia Pacific. 
  • Meet over 50 senior buyers from the Asia Pacific region travelling to Dublin for this event. 
  • Speak with professional service providers who can equip businesses with the tools necessary to meet the region’s challenges in everything from recruitment, immigration to legal matters. 
  • Engage with Enterprise Ireland’s sectoral specialists from across the APAC region to give your business tailored advice on market entry.

Enterprise Ireland’s network of APAC offices will be in attendance as well as experts on recruitment, immigration, market research and international mentorship.

About Cathay Pacific

  • Cathay Pacific is to launch a non-stop service between Dublin and Hong Kong on 2 June 2018. Flights can now be booked via 
  • Cathay Pacific operates four flights weekly from Dublin Airport to Hong Kong using the airline’s newest fleet, the Airbus A350-900. The aircraft offers three cabin classes: Business, Premium Economy and Economy. 
  • The new Dublin service complements the airline’s 49 daily flights from London Heathrow, Gatwick, and Manchester in the UK, as well as 11 other destinations in Europe. 
  • Cathay Pacific offers many solutions for a variety of general and specialist air cargo. For more information, visit 


Media contact details

Conor O'Donovan

Head of Communications

Enterprise Ireland

Conor O'Donovan

+353 87 9671342

Marika MacCarville

Press & PR

Enterprise Ireland

Marika MacCarville

+353 86 171 2568

Aoife Van Wolvelaere


Aoife Van Wolvelaere

+353 86 303 6161

Kate Wilkinson


Kate Wilkinson

+353 87 150 6095

Kawai Wong

Cathay Pacific

Kawai Wong

+44 208 834 880