First Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness have announced that Glenarm Organic Salmon is to supply top hotels in Hong Kong.
They revealed the deal during a visit to the Food Hotel China exhibition in Shanghai with a group of Northern Ireland companies.
The Food Hotel China is exclusively for imported food, drink and hospitality supplies and it is expected to attract more than 30,000 buyers from across China.
Congratulating the company which was a winner in the Larne Times Business Awards, Mr Robinson said: “Establishing a presence in Hong Kong for fresh salmon is a tremendous boost for this export-focused business. In a market place that remains among the world’s most dynamic places to do business, this will provide a great opportunity to develop future sales.
“The interest in Glenarm fresh salmon shows that Northern Ireland companies can succeed in this highly competitive market.”
Mr McGuinness added: “Today’s announcement is testament to the company’s resilience after the difficult circumstances Glenarm Organic Salmon experienced in 2007.”
Also in attendance at the event were Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill.
Mrs Foster said Glenarm Organic Salmon has made excellent use of Invest Northern Ireland export schemes including a recent mission to Hong Kong for the seafood sector.
She added: “I am convinced that there are substantial opportunities for Northern Ireland food and drink companies in China and indeed other international markets.”
Ms O’Neill welcomed the announcement, adding: “The excellence of Glenarm salmon is well known to us and I am pleased that customers in Hong Kong will soon be able to enjoy this premium product. Developing such export markets is important in sustaining employment for our rural communities and I congratulate Glenarm Organic Salmon on this exciting new development.”
John Russell, Glenarm Organic Salmon managing director, said: “The business that we are developing in Hong Kong will give us an important foothold for growth in China, an increasingly affluent market with a rapidly growing middle-class with an interest in quality food from European suppliers. It’s a market that we’ve targeted for fast growth during 2013.
“The interest that we are now attracting from high-end hotels in China carries forward our existing business in other parts of Asia such as Singapore and Thailand, markets which we have been shipping fresh salmon to since 2008.
“What sets our fresh salmon apart from competitors is fantastic quality that comes from our fish farm location in the cold, tidal waters of the Irish Sea.
“This environment produces a highly textured and delicious fish. Foodservice operators worldwide are now recognising the quality of salmon that we produce in Glenarm.
“We expect our sales in Hong Kong and mainland China to grow steadily over the next 12 months and beyond,” he added.
News that salmon from Glenarm will soon be served in some of Hong Kong’s top hotels comes as a “confidence boost for the local economy”, according to Larne’s deputy mayor.
Mark McKinty said: “I congratulate all the staff at Glenarm Organic Salmon and those members of the Executive delegation to China for securing this important deal for local business