Lisburn coffee company brews up venture with Chinese supermarkets
Coffee from Lisburn is making its way to supermarkets in China as part of a new joint venture.
Northern Ireland firm Pure Roast Coffee has reached a deal with China Resources, one of China's biggest business groups.
It's supplying coffee and will provide expert advice in the development of coffee shops in Ole supermarkets owned by China Resources.
Ole supermarkets specialise in the sale of western products.
Pure Roast Coffee is now being served in a shopping mall in Shanghai, with another shop due to open in Hangzhou in the next few months.
A spokesman said the Pure Coffee shops came about after China Resources took on an equity holding in the firm.
It is hoped the joint venture will develop the coffee business across China.
Martin Symington, managing director of Pure Roast Coffee, which employs 10 people in Lissue Industrial Estate, said: "The new coffee shop in the store is a hugely impressive and immensely exciting development for us. It's a tremendous showcase of our premium coffee in China, now the world's most dynamic marketplace, a market with a rapidly developing coffee culture."
Pure Roast Coffee had also been served to business leaders and government officials during a recent visit by Prime Minister Theresa May to Shanghai.
Mr Symington said his decision to export to China "has been correct in both a commercial and a personal sense".
"There is an old Chinese proverb that says: 'The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step'.
Like every business, my working with China started with introductions and lots of networking."
He said he also benefited from the advice of economic development agency Invest NI and legal advice from law firm MTB Solicitors in Belfast.
Pure Roast also manufactures espresso pods, which have become popular in the foodservice sector.
In 2013 the company won around £40,000 in funding from Invest NI to expand production of the pods.