Within short walking distance of Digbeth High Street there is a taste of China all under one roof at the China Products and Wholesale Centre.
This 50,000 square foot warehouse opened in 2006 with a cafe, lifts and parking. It should be a hub of activity and an important liaison centre for UK / China trade. The concept and the idea behind this project is excellent. Sadly it fails in a number of areas.
Visitors to the centre will be surprised to see various products and companies showcased in what would appear to be some kind of unmanned exhibition for products from China.
Cheap jewellery, paintings, furniture, clothing, toys and crafts are to be found in individual display areas. When the venture first opened these were manned with eager representatives from Hong Kong or mainland Chinese firms eager to sell their wares in the UK. So what went wrong?
The centre does not seem to have had the marketing budget or the business acumen to encourage traders to view its wares in any signifcant numbers. At any one time there are never more than a handful of visitors wandering around - and thats on a good day.
The unmanned stalls are untidy, disgorganised and with no clear pricing on many of the goods. Unopened boxes lie around and the whole presentation gives the impression of a failed experiment.
Hopefully the current owners will manage to iron out the problems and find a workable solution to what should be an excellent opportunity for West Midlands firms to engage with representatives from Hong Kong and China. We wish them all the very best.
35-40 Rea Street, Digbeth, Birmingham. B5 6HT. Tel: 0121 666 6678