Birmingham is punching above its weight when it comes to attracting Chinese investment.
The city’s success so far was highlighted by Business Birmingham’s investment manager Marek Dobrowolski who said: “Birmingham has got a strong track record in attracting investment from China.
“Since 2007 we have had more investment from China into Birmingham than any other regional city in the UK. It has been quite a success story for us.”
Mr Dobrowolski pointed to SDI Market figures which estimated Birmingham has generated £103 million in investment since 2007.
He added: “Taking into consideration the economic decline the west has experienced it probably says something about the strength of Birmingham.”
Along with lighting firm NVC, which is expanding in the city, the other main investor here has been SAIC, which bought the remnants of MG Rover and revived the MG brand as MG Motor UK.
The company’s global design and engineering centre is based at Longbridge and though most manufacturing takes place in China the current crop of MG vehicles are assembled on the Longbridge site.
Mr Dobrowolski said the fact major players in China such as SAIC and NVC had chosen Birmingham to invest in was a major coup for the city.
“NVC and MG have helped to raise the profile of the city,” he said. “If you think about the business community in China NVC are China’s largest lighting manufacturer and with a brand as renowned as SAIC investing too it goes to show Birmingham has a strong economy, is a leading European city and a business city.
“It keeps our presence in the headlines among leading businesses and entrepreneurs in China.
“NVC is a big brand in China and they open their only non-Chinese operation in Birmingham – that is sending a powerful message about Birmingham back to China.
“Of all the places they could have chosen to come, a massive organisation like that chose Birmingham because of the talent pool and the strength of expertise available within the locality.
“The Chinese take their investments very seriously so the fact we have got big brands and big names like NVC and SAIC promoting Birmingham as a destination is testament to the fact that there is something exciting about it.
“There is genuinely no better place in the UK to establish a site – you can access 90 per cent of the UK customers within four hours travel and 5.4 million people of working age are within an hour’s commute.”