Raise a glass to Irish crystal

Updated: 2012-02-21 08:53

By Zhang Haizhou (China Daily)

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DUBLIN - When you think of Ireland, your mind is likely to be brimming over with a glass of Guinness before another kind of glass, crystal, springs to mind. Unknown to many, especially Chinese, Ireland is home to some great crystal companies, such as Tipperary Crystal.

The high-end crystal maker opened its first store in China on Jan 10, marking its formal entry into the world's second-largest economy.

Located in Yiwu in Zhejiang province, where its Chinese partner Neoglory Group is based, the 90-square-meter store is also the first Irish crystal shop in China.

"There is a growing demand for crystal wine glasses and corporate gifts in China," said Declan Fearon, managing director of Tipperary Crystal.

Zhang Chaoyang, general manager of the European brand office at Neoglory, says the company has a wide range of products including glassware, vases and chandeliers.

"We believe there is a growing demand and bright future for luxury crystal household products among middle and high-end consumers," Zhang said.

Keenly aware of the difference in tastes between Chinese and Western customers, Tipperary has launched a special collection of crystal for its China store.

According to market research by Neoglory Group, most Chinese consumers prefer oriental style products. Tipperary Crystal now has 12 workers dedicated to analyzing Chinese culture and producing new designs catering to Chinese consumers.

"China is by far the most important market for our business," Fearon says. "Its business environment is very open and it provides tremendous opportunities for foreign firms. China's importance for the Irish economy can't be underestimated."

Raise a glass to Irish crystal

Glassware of Ireland's Tipperary Crystal Provided to China Daily