The Urban-Media Networks team visited Ningbo Hefeng Creative Cluster and later the Fortune Creation Cluster on 2nd April, 2010. The initiate aims of the trips were to find out ‘the winners’ and ‘the losers’ in CI; the relationship between CI and Real- Estate industries (HOPSCA, Hotel+Office+Parking+Shopping+Convention+Apartment); and how the investment finance.
Creative industries have become the most favorite baby for local government and developers in the process of urbanization. One of the main reasons is Promoting Creative Industries is one of Ningbo municipal government’s strategies in industrial optimization. Another factor will be there is a big cake for industrial design. According to a study, there is about 1,000 million (Chinese Yuan) demand for industrial design from Ningbo which contributed to other markets as Shanghai and Beijing due to lack of local competent design companies. In addition, there is a closer link with Real estate (esp. with a hot term as HOPSCA). In Hefeng, as the interviews briefed, besides studios for designers, there will also be other facilities as a fine hotel, offices, shopping areas, nice place as Cafe’s for designers’ network functions’”, apartments and etc. Same stories as we can see in Fortune Creative Cluster although it now looks like a shopping mall rather than what it supposed to be.
Hefeng Creative Cluster is a stated-own project. It’s financed by governmental investment which according to the interviewee that’ we won’t expect we can make a finance balance within 15-20 years ’. Anyway, we can still see some evidences for it’s a good deal in a long-term period, such as the land value increase, the cash flow from rentals and other service provide, relevant opportunities arise from the business named as CI… (More research on why Ningbo needs HOPSCA)
One of the advantages of Hefeng Cluster includes Good location-really downtown, good river view. Facilities like the Shell-Shaped T- Show hall, with big place and professional facilities which is another selling point to its target local clients. Textile\clothing companies as Younger, Romon, and Peace Bird showed their interests to it. According to their sales, key target customers include other big manufacturers in stationary and sound equipments.
Challenges being observed here including Market segmentation and strong competition from other newly set up CI clusters. Lack of Professional management which differ from the current system in residential real-estate management
- Find out sufficient and proper interviewees. This really a big challenge and a must preparation before the visit. For instant, this time we can not find someone speaks for ‘losers’ …
- Ability to control site visit and interview-to is flexible. Some designed questions can not be answered on spot.
- Teamwork and time management. Team members contributed to schedule making and arrangement to this first trip which is really a treasure and learning process for the next trips.
Issues to be followed up on the topic
- The Hefeng Cluster used to be factories and how the former workers relocated?
- What other losers find frustrated when they face the new cluster (Aged people who have to move to places far away)?
- To what level the small investors in the cluster loosing money, like people buying small offices but cannot find enough tenants in the Fortune Creative Cluster?