First Minister applauds enterprise

Scottish firms unveil expansion into Far East markets

SparrowsThree Scottish companies – in textiles, 3D animation and offshore oil and gas – have unveiled expansion into the Far East, two of them during First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s visit to China.

J&D Wilkie is building a £3 million factory in Jianxing near Shanghai to enable it to produce technical textiles products, and increase its competitiveness by bringing its entire yarn-spinning operations into one location.

The Angus-based firm began producing jute and flax in Scotland in 1868 and has almost doubled production since it established operations in China eight years ago.

The deal will safeguard 90 jobs in Scotland and has the potential to double the J&D Wilkie positions in China.

Bob Low, director, said: “This will further strengthen our position in Europe where we have seen our Scottish weaving unit almost double since starting the yarn production in China.”

Glasgow-based Digimania has announced a 3D animation software training partnership with the Shanghai Arts and Design Academy, as well as a joint venture with Chinese partner Pikatoons.

The deals will increase Digimania’s revenue from China by approximately £12 million over three years, creating 12 jobs in Scotland and 14  in China.

Paul Collimore, commerical director, said: “The 3D Animation industry is one of the fastest global growth industries and we look forward to further growth in China alongside our partners Pikatoon.”

Separately, Aberdeen-headquartered Sparrows Group has expanded into the Malaysian market after forming a strategic partnership with a local service provider in the region, Efficient Technology Sdn Bhd (Eftech). It is part of the company’s plans to treble business in Asia Pacific over the next five years.

As part of the agreement, Sparrows Group will offer services such as offshore crane maintenance, crane hire, fluid power, inspection and cable and pipe lay products which are in particularly high demand in the region.

Stewart Mitchell, chief executive at Sparrows, said: “We see Asia Pacific as a key growth area for Sparrows Group in the coming years. Malaysia’s oil reserves are the fourth highest in Asia Pacific and by partnering with a well-respected local company that shares our commitment to assure delivery to clients, such as Eftech, we believe we are on the right track to realising our aims.”

Sparrows Group employs more than 120 people in Asia Pacific and 2,100 globally. It has bases in Singapore, Myanmar, Australia, China and two in Indonesia in the region.

Ms Sturgeon and with the Mayor and Vice Mayor of Jiaxing presented a foundation stone to be laid at the site of the J&D Wilkie factory.

At the Digimania event in Shanghai, the she saw Chinese school children using its educational software product Muvizu, which is designed to introduce students to the art of 3D animation in an animated construction game.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The success of both J&D Wilkie and Digimania are strong examples of how Scotland’s credentials in high quality and innovative products and technologies present opportunities for companies to grow significantly by entering overseas markets.”

Photo: Left, Stewart Mitchell, chief executive of Sparrows Group and Dato’ Mahathir Samat, managing director of Eftech finalising their partnership

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