Day 05 – Visit of the University of Nottingham Ningbo and the Volkswagen Factory

This 5th day of our trip is already our last day in Shanghai for which we have scheduled two different activities. Therefore our group was divided into two teams of 25 students for today. One team went to visit a factory of Volkswagen and the other team went to visit the University of Nottingham in Ningbo China (UNNC).

University Visit: UNNC

First, a couple of words about the university we visited. The UNNC is a leading University in China and ranking under the top 100 worldwide. The UNNC consists of 19 faculties and colleges which cover many disciplines with about 2300 staff members and over 50’000 students in Bachelor & Master Programs. The UNNC was also the very first Sino-Foreign University established in China. More information can be found on the website of UNNC.

Our group of 25 students travelled 220 kilometers to Ningbo in the south of Shanghai to meet the ZHAW delegation lead by Werner Inderbitzin, the president of the ZHAW.  Together, we visited the UNNC to deepen the relationship between the two partner institutions. Nick Miles, the Provost and CEO of UNNC, welcomed us with a detailed presentation about the UNNC in the conference room. Nabil Gindy, Vice-Provost for research and Dean of Graduate School at the UNNC, did also hold a presentation about the research & innovation.

The UNNC is very international with staff coming from over 30 different countries and is planning to increase even further. The students are taught with a British style which emphasizes on critical analysis, reflection, presentations and team-working after all the students of the UNNC receive a degree of the University of Nottingham. The university started with business majors but is increasing the numbers of majors continuously in order to be able to offer a balanced porftfolio of majors of all faculties. The UNNC does not want to become a management school, but an University which offers everything from a bachelor & master degree to a PhD’s in various fields. So far, the majority of the students at the UNNC study social sciences, mainly business. Therefore, the UNNC wants to emphasize on developing its majors from the natural sciences such as engineering further in order to reach the goal to become a broad university with a balanced student body throughout all majors. We believe a corporation with the ZHAW could create a win-win situation. The UNNC also wants to increase its research in various topics. The main focus at the UNNC are researches about Sustainability in Engineering.

After this informative presentation both delegations had lunch together. Also students from the UNNC joined the lunch, which also gave us a Campus tour later on. The highlight of the Campus tour was the visit to the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technology (CSET). Siegfried Yeboah gave us an introduction about the techniques used in this building. For example how the architecture of the building and the ventilation system can cool the building in the summer and keep the building warm in the winter. Further details are available on the website of the CSET.

Our visit was very short, however we received a very deep and interesting insight about the UNNC. The ZHAW delegation with Mr. Inderbitzin continued the visit in the afternoon with meetings and a dinner, while our student group had to leave already for the airport to meet the other group for our next flight…

Company Visit: VW

Today 25 students accompanied by Mr. Prandini had the privilege to visit the biggest car manufacturer of Shanghai, Shanghai Volkswagen (SVW). SVW is a joint venture between German Volkswagen and Chinese investment Group. As one of the first foreign car brands VW has been accessing China’s automotive industry and produced over 1 million cars in 2010.

In beginning we were given an insight into the huge assembling lines by passing through the fabric plant by golf cars. We were shown the whole process from pressing the car body parts (steel comes from Baosteel) over installing the engine (further assembling) to quality checks. They are producing the Brands VW and Skoda at SVW.

After the round tour the head of Human Relation of SVW gave us a very interesting presentation about the Chinese car market, its future potential and development and how VW is going to cope with it. China has today 27 million cars, the future potential is 300 by 2030. Also 80% of the car buyers are first buyers, so they need an effective marketing. They even produced the VW Lavida only for the Chinese market, especially design for the unique expectations of the Chinese customers. SVW has a market share of 9%. The growth of the market is at 35% and the one of SVW at 37% (2010).

In a rather cold restaurant we enjoyed Mongolian food for lunch, which was a welcomed change from the usual Chinese food. Afterwards, we could be part of the production of silk in an old silk factory. There we had also the possibility to admire and purchase contemporary Chinese art. The high-light of the day was the Sightseeing trip to the Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC, Tallest building of China).

In the evening we had the very late transfer flight to Shenzhen and we checked in at the amazing Shangri-La, where we ended the day with a debriefing.

Team Day 5: Jan Heiniger, David Hoppensack & Andreas Tietze

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