Microland – India’s leading IT transformation company – is one Indian investor to have found success in the region. The firm opened recently its new European headquarters in Birmingham marking its second investment in the West Midlands in two years. This is the fifth year that the West Midlands has proved the most attractive regional location for investment outside of the UK capital.
The leading sectors for attracting investment in the West Midlands region were Advanced Manufacturing, Automotive, Software and Computer Services and Business and Consumer Services. Notable investment projects in the region included ACSYS Lasertechnik in Coventry, a German laser systems and processes provider; Italian-owned chemical manufacturer MAPEI UK in the Black Country.
Nagaraja Kini, Associate Vice President at Microland, said: “Setting up Microland’s offices in the West Midlands has facilitated a virtuous cycle of growth for our organisation. The success of our initial investment in 2018 cultivated the demand for a new Microland European operational centre, driven by the region’s thriving technology ecosystem and high-skilled talent pipeline. Having already experienced the benefits of being in the West Midlands, we knew that the region was the only place for us to fulfil these future ambitions.
“We are proud to be part of the region’s growing community of technology specialists and are looking forward to building on our accomplishments here. The West Midlands has a number of exclusive opportunities on the horizon that will give us a uniquely competitive edge, such as the region’s status as the UK’s primary multi-city 5G testbed. This facility will allow unprecedented access to trial and test new technologies and products at scale, putting us at the epicentre of the next digital revolution.”
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The West Midlands has remained resilient during the pandemic. Innovative life-sciences research from the region’s universities has shaped the international response to the COVID-19 outbreak, while West Midlands manufacturers – including global heavyweights Jaguar Land Rover and Mondelēz International – have diversified day-to-day production lines to produce life-saving equipment for medical professionals and patients on the UK’s frontline.
Matt Hammond, Chair of the West Midlands Growth Company – the region’s official inward investment agency – and Midlands Region Chairman at global consultancy PwC – a significant investor in the region – said: “Despite a period of unprecedented trade disruption globally, the region’s inherent industry strengths and critical mass of talent have assured our ability to successfully compete on the world stage. I have witnessed first-hand how the West Midlands can help international organisations to grow and scale at pace, with cost-competitive facilities, a diverse range of resilient industries and vibrant cityscapes that are rivalling London on quality of life.”
Initial analysis from global professional services firm KPMG suggests the West Midlands will make the strongest economic recovery of all UK regions in 2021. Central to both the region’s recovery and investment plans is accelerating and maximising the benefits of key milestones such as HS2 and the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The major global sporting event will form a key vehicle to deepening economic relationships with key Commonwealth markets including India, Canada and Australia.
The region has already taken steps to forge closer links with these territories. In June 2020, a new West Midlands India Partnership (WMIP) launched to enhance UK-India relations and boost tourism, trade and investment between the West Midlands and India. Led by WMGC, the Partnership will embark on an initial five-year programme of activity with the Indian market, identifying opportunities for collaboration and shared, long-term growth.
Dr Jason Wouhra OBE, Chair of the West Midlands India Partnership, said: “The West Midlands India Partnership has launched at a poignant moment for globalisation, where building on the strength of international alliances has become crucial for growing and recovering economies worldwide.
“Through the Partnership, we will nurture our region’s established relationship with India to create mutual opportunities for economic and cultural prosperity across trade, tourism and investment. By cultivating collaboration between our business, visitor and academic communities, we hope to welcome more Indian-owned ventures, like Microland, to join our diverse ecosystem of industries and experience the benefits of what the West Midlands has to offer.”
Jonathan Magee, Managing Director of ACSYS Lasertechnik UK, said: “The region benefits us by providing a skilled workforce in laser materials processing. This breadth of expertise, coupled with the region’s longstanding reputation as a centre for manufacturing excellence, have helped us to strengthen our UK client base and create new opportunities for growth.”
Phil Breakspear, Managing Director at MAPEI UK, said: “With such a varied and robust local supply chain, the West Midlands can support ambitious and expanding manufacturing firms to realise their potential, which our story at MAPEI UK is living proof of.”
The US, Germany and India were the region’s leading sources of international investment. The region will build on the strength of its overseas investment links through major events such as the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and a new West Midlands India Partnership
According to various reports from Department of International Trade the region – which sits at the heart of the UK and includes the cities of Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton – secured 157 new FDI projects during the 2019/20 financial year. This accounts for 8% of the UK’s total FDI projects and marks the strongest performance of any other UK region outside of London and the South East, adds one West Midlands Growth Company report..
It is reported that the number of new, associated jobs created totalled 3,883 and 2,220 additional jobs were safeguarded.