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Liam Casey: Irishman's Shenzhen dreams

10-06-2012 17:34 BJT

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by Chen Yinan, Cai Jue

For 15 years, Irishman Liam Casey has been pursuing his dream in the southern coastal city of Shenzhen. From a small trading company with 3 employees, to a trans-national enterprise with 700 staff members, he has been chasing what he calls his "Shenzhen dream".

In 1996, Liam Casey came to Shenzhen by himself and founded his company, PCH, with a loan of 20,000 U.S. dollars. At first, PCH’s customers were mainly manufacturers of world famous computers, electronic communications equipment and electronic consumer products. PCH helped them find factories in China from which to purchase and process components.

Liam Casey, Founder & CEO, of PCH, said, "I live in Cork. It’s in the very south of Ireland. I grew up on a farm. I worked, for the first ten years of my career; I worked in the retail business in the fashion industry. And I looked at setting up a company in trading and in computer hardware components."

For 15 years, Irishman Liam Casey has been pursuing his dream in
the southern coastal city of Shenzhen.

Shenzhen’s electronics industry has grown rapidly, based on China’s economic opening and development. In fact, the electronics information industry has become one of the industrial pillars of Shenzhen. Casey’s choice of starting a business based on electronic components trading made a lot of sense.

Liam Casey, Fsaid, "Back then, all we had to do was to find a name card of a factory that was making a product, get a driver, a taxi or a van and go to that factory. And you were in the factory that was making the product, and then you would give them the order and they’d make the product. The business model wasn’t very mature."

Christina was PCH’s first employee in China. The hard times the company faced during its early years are still fresh in her mind.

Christina Zhang, PCH Staff, said, "At the very beginning, the company only had two or three staff members. But the work we got was from world-famous brands. We were under huge logistical and psychological pressures at the time. When we were working on those early orders, we skipped meals and went without sleep. We sometimes did not stop working until 2 or 3 a.m."

For 15 years, Irishman Liam Casey has been pursuing his dream
in the southern coastal city of Shenzhen.

In the 90s, Shenzhen’s development began moving away from basic-level electronics processing towards more hi-tech industries. Liam seized the chance to change his company as China changed.

Liam Casey, Fsaid, "It was in 2003 when we really saw the change happening in China. We saw that China was no longer just about low cost. We saw the skills set here, and entrepreneurialism here, and innovation and creativity that we thought: There’s an opportunity for us to build a long-term business here. It’s not just about low-cost any more."

That same year, Casey set up his own factory in the Futian Free Trade Zone. PCH transformed into an international supply chain management company. No longer was the company just finding local factories for the purchase of electrical components. Now, the company controls entire supply chains, from initial design of the products until the moment the products are presented to foreign customers.

Liam Casey, Fsaid, "We actually manufacture the products in Shenzhen and Dongguan. We ship it in here to the Free Trade Zone and to this facility. And this is where we actually do the packaging, what we call the "out-of-box experience". We have 950 people in this facility."

For 15 years, Irishman Liam Casey has been
pursuing his dream in the southern coastal
city of Shenzhen.

After its transformation in 2003, Casey’s company saw double-digit increases in its annual income, which now approaches 100 million U.S. dollars. The company has set up branches in Ireland, the U.S., South Africa and Singapore.

Liam Casey, Fsaid, "It was a very unique time and it was a very unique opportunity. And it was about building very strong relationships with the factories. And the factories giving us trusting us and giving us the credit to grow the business. Otherwise we couldn’t have done it."

Having moved here all alone, Casey misses his hometown. Not long ago, he was delighted to find that some Irish expats in Shenzhen were organizing a Gaelic football team. He immediately offered sponsorship.

Grog Schultheis, Liam Casey's Friend, said, "We didn’t have any money, so he was nice enough to sponsor us for the first tournament. The tournaments are quite expensive. And if you notice, a lot of people have really nice uniforms, and we’ve been able to get new uniforms every year. And those have always been sponsored by PCH. Liam has always been just very friendly and helping us promote the club."

Liam Casey, Fsaid, "Irish people are very like Chinese. They are all family-oriented and they are a very close-knit community. And that’s why when they go overseas they like to stick together as a group. So, this is really important. And sport is one of the cornerstones of that."

Liam admits he is a man with no spare time. Being busy is normal. The Shenzhen Library, however, is the place he visits most whenever time permits. In this quiet environment, he can temporarily escape from the perpetual intensity of work.

Liam Casey, Fsaid, "When you look around here, look at young people doing here, they are learning. They’re learning because they want to learn. I think it’s one of the assets of China is that the people want to learn. They really want to develop. If I speak at the university here from time to time, the first question I would ask is: Hands up, who is from Shenzhen? And everyone put their hand up. And I will ask a question: Hands up, who is born in Shenzhen? And nobody was born here. We are all the same."

From a trading company employing only three people to a trans-national enterprise with 700 staff members from 16 countries, Liam is upholding the legend of the enterprising Irish, right here in China. His business plans are far from fading, however. He wants to continue expanding his business, in the country where he feels at home.



Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source:

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