It is a long way from the Donoughmore farm where Liam Casey was born to southern China’s Pearl River Delta, but the much-travelled entrepreneur is happy he made the move east. His PCH International Holdings employs 5,000 people in Shenzhen, developing accessories for smartphones and tablets for clients including Apple, Samsung and Sony. He founded PCH in 1996 as a one-man sourcing company, naming it after the Pacific Coast Highway, from the time he spent in California. Now it is worth €506m. Casey, 51, holds, via Sontalmo Holdings, 33% of the Cork-based but Cayman-registered business. He received €7m in 2012 in a share transaction.
After school, he worked in the fashion trade in Ireland, then started PCH to source components for the US companies that were setting up in the country. He found his first supplier in Taiwan, providing desktop microphones and computer cables for AST. When the scale of the operation exploded, he switched his sourcing to mainland China. He is an early-stage investor in the San Francisco-based payment company Stripe, founded by Irishmen Patrick and John Collison (qv), whose value has more than doubled to €8.5bn in the past 12 months. Casey has a start-up incubator in America called Highway1.