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Irwin's takes bite out of Chinese market

By Margaret Canning

China's appetite for Western goods has taken the biscuit for Co Armagh bakery Irwin's as it announced a six figure deal to supply a Chinese state-owned company.

Irwin's in Portadown is the first business to announce a significant deal with China since a crisis in its economy two months ago, in which its currency was devalued.

Under the deal - Irwin's first in China - it will send 500,000 packs of its biscuits to be stocked in China Merchants Food Stores across China. The grocery retailer is part of the state-owned China Merchants Group. The range includes all-butter, oat original and shortbread chocolate chip biscuits, and all have been manufactured specifically for China.

Brenda Lappin, Irwin's business development manager, said: "This is a very significant contract win for Irwin's, which gives us an excellent platform for further growth in this important marketplace."

Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton said: "China Merchants Group is one of the world's biggest companies and this contract is a significant achievement for Irwin's Bakery."

The Chinese have had a growing appetite for Western goods in recent years.

And last month China dropped its 'one child' policy, which applied to most couples.

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