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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

Ireland the 'Hong Kong of Europe' (3)

By Zhang Haizhou and Cecily Liu (China Daily)

09:19, February 21, 2012

"Obviously everybody recognizes that China is the second-largest economy in the world now. It's a silly thing to do not to engage with China," said Alan Buckley, China director of Enterprise Ireland, a government economic agency focused on helping Irish-owned businesses deliver new export sales.

Buckley said more than 130 Irish companies have offices in China, while there were less than 40 just five or six years ago.

At least 250 Irish companies are in some way engaging with China, he added.

Buckley also highlighted education services as "one of the biggest sectors" for Irish export.

He said there are now around 5,000 Chinese students in higher education in Ireland, while "many, many more" are studying in English language courses.

"Outside the EU, China has now the largest number of international students in Ireland," Buckley added, noting 126 joint programs now exist between Chinese and Irish universities.

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