Birmingham showcases investment opportunities to high level Chinese delegation

James Wong

Birmingham’s foreign investment potential was placed under the spotlight when the city hosted a visit by a delegation of leading Chinese officials.

Officially, the event was to celebrate China National Day but it also presented an opportunity for the city to showcase itself and the many opportunities it has to offer, especially now it is in the running to stage the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The day was rounded off with a special dinner at the Birmingham Conference and Events Centre at the Holiday Inn, hosted by the Birmingham Chinese Business Union and chaired by Ming Lee.

The evening’s guests included Chinese government minister Hui Ma, councillor Haitian Lu, the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Anne Underwood, Lord Mike Whitby and Hodge Hill MP, Liam Byrne.

The event brought together the combined efforts of 15 Chinese societies in Birmingham to celebrate the strength of Chinese culture in the city.

Guest of honour Minister Ma said he was pleased to see the Chinese community in Birmingham coming together, especially with so many young Chinese graduates and immigrants getting involved.

Importantly, he also stressed the importance of the relationship between China and UK in times of economic uncertainty, such as that posed by Brexit.

James Wong, chair of the Birmingham Chinese Festival Committee and managing director of Chung Ying Restaurant Group, was also present.

He said: “We were delighted to see the Chinese Embassy send four high profile officials to come and join in our celebrations, especially someone as high profile as Minister Ma. It had been months in planning this event and it was highly successful, showcasing the strength and variety of Chinese culture in Birmingham.

“We took the event as an opportunity not just to speak about current successes but also gain support for key projects in the pipeline, including the Chinese Arch Project in Southside.”

The planned 40-foot Chinese arch is set to be installed as part of a multi-million-pound new public square announced earlier this year. The Southside Square development is set to transform the area around Hurst Street, Ladywell Walk and Thorp Street into a vibrant public space fit for markets, festivals and outdoor performances.

Championed by Southside Business Improvement District (BID), the project is in partnership with Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Hippodrome and the Chinese community.

Paul Garry, chair of Southside BID, added: “It has been a honour for the event to be hosted in Southside and we are delighted for the Chinese Embassy to recognise the Chinese community here. We hope further investments from China will continue and make this city more prosperous.”

The event also came just weeks after Chinese investors were revealed to be behind a major new apartment scheme for the city centre.
PGC Capital, the Shanghai-headquartered boutique investment bank, specialising in property development and private equity, has applied for planning permission to build 517 residential apartments on a former car dealership site in Digbeth.

While in August, Birmingham City Council granted planning permission for a £45m apartment scheme also backed by Chinese investment.
The Arden Gate scheme, which comprises 214 apartments, is one of the largest Chinese-funded residential property developments in Birmingham’s history.

Located on the site of a former council-owned computer centre, Hong Kong-based Top Capital Group is partnering with Anthony McCourt’s Birmingham-based Court Collaboration for the project.