China Calling

I was contacted by my old boss today. He lives in Singapore now as he says that all the action is out East. He used to live in London and then the South of France.

He was the head of a Stock Market company. I used to run his IT Department and so we have kept in touch.

He contacted me as he knows a guy in China that can source a load of Cobol Developers (it’s an old IT language). I used to programme in Cobol but it’s not much used nowadays. However, the computer systems that were written in old languages like Cobol are still running every night especially at the major UK banks. They’re called legacy systems. Programmes that I wrote when I first started work will still be running every night processing bank transactions.

Legacy Code

You may have seen the number of times the computer systems of banks like RBS, Nat West, Ulster Bank and Lloyds keep falling over so that people can’t get cash out of the ATMS. It’s a major problem they’ve got.

The big banks in the UK will have to rewrite their systems at great expense as the old systems are held together by string nowadays and will fall over more and more making customers angrier and angrier.

However, there are few people about now that have the skill to understand what the old software does so that they can rewrite it. Looking at old computer programmes to find out what they do so that new replacement programmes and systems can be written is called reverse engineering.

I’ll be having a skype meeting shortly with myself, my boss and this Swedish guy who operates out of China.

Fashion Products

However, that’s just by explanation of who this guy is.

What this guy does at the moment is that he sells unique fashion products in China. It seems that the Chinese go mad for unique designer products. My old boss was asking me if there are any arts and crafts producers about here that the Chinese would like as the Swedish guy would be interested. He mentioned glass makers, like a mini Waterford Crystal as an example.

Pottery Shop

I mentioned the Pottery Shop. He said that they would have to be producing something that the Chinese couldn’t produce. The Pottery shop would have to have some unique added value about it.

I would guess that if they were the sole company making U2 or Bono pottery items that might make it unique – but that’s just a guess but you know what I mean. It has to be different and they can’t recreate it themselves for some reason.


I also mentioned Movania’s handbags. The problem there is that Movania has to make them all. For that to sell in numbers, you would have to build the brand and they would have to be good enough to sell at fancy prices AND have some unique thing about them that’s related to Ireland.

Perhaps Moville Clothing have some line that is uniquely Irish (or could create something) that the Chinese can’t recreate and would want.


Of course there are some very good painters and sculptors about here but I don’t think they could mass  produce something that they could market to the Chinese.

I’m wracking my brains trying to think of something that could or would be suitable as the opportunity is there. To see the kind of things they already have, see Royal Designs

If you can think of something unique but also good, let me know and I’ll pass it on if I think it is any good.

I’ll ask for more info when I speak to the guy at the teleconference via skype that I’ll be taking part in with him and my old boss.


These are just ideas off the top of my head that might be goers. I don’t know if the Chinese would buy them but I think it shows the kind of things that might make it unique.

What about:-

Ireland’s Greatest Man line of pottery (or clothing).

It’s just a thought – but  there must be something we have and the opportunity is there.