Great event last night. The Irish Chamber was honored to host Jim Thompson, Founder and Chairman of Crowne World Wide, for the second in the series of ‘Insider Evenings’. The event was hosted at the new premises of the Consulate General of Ireland in collaboration with the Chamber. Consul General Ryan & Chamber Chairman Ian Carroll welcomed guests which included Niall Murray, Chair of the Irish Macau Chamber of Commerce.
The packed audience was treated to a rare and intimate insight into how Jim together with his father, who had Irish roots, started their logistics business in Japan 50 years ago with USD1,000. Jim was interviewed by Enda Curran, Chief Asia Economics Correspondent, Bloomberg. Jim shared some great anecdotes on how his strong work ethic, combined with the adaptability of his local employee’s in Hong Kong, helped the business navigate through tough times in the 1980’s. He emphasized the importance of the stability of Hong Kong, the low tax regime and “can do attitude” of the Hong Kong government (citing the exemption of duty on wine) as being instrumental in the success of his business and how recent developments have not changed his mind.
Jim strongly believes in the increasing importance of both Hong Kong and Asia in the global economy. When questions were opened to the floor he was not shy about emphasizing the need for greater engagement by Ireland and it’s companies to become more aware of and capitalise on this dynamic market.He believed both the Consulate and the Chamber would have a role to play in achieving this outcome. “Ireland as a brand comes with a wonderful cache…”. Jim, who now owns a home in Ireland, believes the country’s strong track record in producing premium quality goods from the dairy and food sectors, could be hugely successful in developing new markets in Asia. Citing the example of the abundance of New Zealand’s product in the region, Ireland can learn and replicate this success. The fact that Ireland was already a host to some of the worlds top tech and pharmaceutical firms, given its own low tax regime, made it equally a very attractive place to invest for multi national companies. In conclusion, Jim, who was acknowledged by the Hong Kong government in 2003 of his work as an Ambassador for the city, as well as being a benefactor to local charitable and empowerment causes, was presented with a hamper containing a range of Irish products including newly arrived Tayto crisps, Irish Whiskey stones made of Connemara marble & some rare Irish whiskeys, which no doubt will be shared among his cherished local staff.
Thanks to the 70+ attendees & everyone who made the event such a success including Noel, Peter & the Delaney’s Team as well as Alana Byrne who kept our social media updated! Make sure to keep an eye out for an exciting series of events planned for 2016. Ahead of that, the Consul General & Chamber will again collaborate to host the Chamber’s Christmas drinks on Friday, 4 December. We hope you can join us – see the Chamber’s website for details.
(Ray Moroney, Board Member, Irish Chamber of Commerce of Hong Kong)