Success Stories

ScotGrad Associate Tina Liu helps Ireland Alloys enter Chinese market

Hamilton-based Ireland Alloys Limited specialises in buying, processing and selling complex metal alloy scrap, and has now branched out to sell its products in China after taking on a student to work on a ScotGrad placement project.

Published: 10/03/2017

Ireland Alloys was looking for an effective way of conducting research into the feasibility of trading in China. Before taking on Tina Liu, the organisation lacked the language and cultural skill, as well as the experience of the complexities and regulations of trading in the country.

They looked to ScotGrad to make use of the International Business Explorer placement programme. Supported by Scottish Enterprise, International Business Explorer placements aim to utilise the skills and connections of post-graduate students. These opportunities are designed to help Scottish organisations reach new international markets, or evaluate what steps the business would need to take to grow globally.

Due to the nature of the project, the programme worked perfectly for Ireland Alloys as it allowed the organisation to hire a candidate on a short-term basis while it explored the possibility of international trading in China.

Ireland Alloys were looking for an enthusiastic and intelligent candidate, who was willing to learn, was tenacious, and had the ability to ‘think outside-of-the-box’.

ScotGrad connected Ireland Alloys to Tina Liu, from China, who was studying Marketing at the University of Strathclyde at the time. Tina speaks fluent Mandarin and English, and was able to advise the team on the business culture in China with her experience working in a range of business and marketing roles in Shanghai.

Once in the role, Tina carried out extensive research and created a business proposal on how Ireland Alloys should approach trading in China. She sourced a list of potential customers in their relevant sectors and opened communication with key personnel. 

Tina also successfully planned and organised Ireland Alloy’s first field trip to China.  As a result of the trip, Tina helped secure new contracts in a previously untapped market for the organisation, with the first month trading resulting in a turnover of $180,000.

Tina also used the experience she gained from her degree to contribute toward Ireland Alloy’s marketing plan.

Rosie Hill and Tina Liu

Rosie Hill, Business Development Manager at Ireland Alloys, said: “Tina brings an abundance of energy and enthusiasm to the business and has first class social media knowledge. The success of her placement has been extraordinary and we are now working with ScotGrad to place Tina in a 12-month graduate placement.

“We are so happy with the placement that we are confident we will do this again. ScotGrad’s programme made the whole process incredibly straightforward and enjoyable.”

Paul Sweeney, account manager at Scottish Enterprise, said: “It has been very rewarding to observe the benefit Ireland Alloys has gained from bringing Tina into its team through the ScotGrad programme. Ireland Alloys is an excellent Scottish company with a strong international profile, able to drive further growth opportunities in the Chinese market by utilising the brilliant pool of international students at Scotland’s universities.

“I hope that the story of Ireland Alloys will inspire other companies to use the ScotGrad programme to promote their business development and exporting opportunities internationally.”

For more information on how ScotGrad can help your organisation, visit our Employers pages or contact us.