British College Students in Shenzhen
Two Edinburgh Napier University (ENU) students Daniel Casey and Stefano Cipriani are now doing a
work placement in a company named Matrix Industrial Product Design in F518 Idea Land, Baoan
District, Shenzhen. According to them, they are impressed by a complete industry ecosystem and a strong culture of industrial design in the F518 Idea Land.
As a product design student, Daniel said, “Shenzhen is a great city. Before I came, I thought the traffic in Shenzhen must be very congested. But in fact, Shenzhen has a very good transport system. Metro, buses and other means of transport are readily available across the city. What is more amazing is Shenzhen is home to plenty of industrial design companies, which offer great placement opportunities to students studying in related fields. You know, there are very few industrial design companies in Scotland. Such industry parks like F518 where industrial parks are clustered barely exist.”
The other student, Stefano, said, “Shenzhen is a very modern city, especially the cashless part, which is absolutely amazing. Wechat Pay and Alipay are well-developed. You can go anywhere without bringing any cash. Industrial design-wise, it is pretty advanced with a complete supply chain that almost covers every step from design to product. During our placement, we get to engage in the initial design as well as hands-on work in the factories. This is such a rare opportunity!”
All of this starts from a teacher of ENU named Trent Jennings. As a senior designer, Trent Jennings visited Shenzhen very early on. The entrepreneurial, innovation-driven environment as well as the fast-growing industrial design business impressed him a lot. With the recommendations from the City of Edinburgh Council, Trent reached out to Edinburgh-Shenzhen Creative Exchange (ESCE) in a bid to enable more students from ENU to do a work placement in Shenzhen.
With the facilitation from ESCE, the first group of ENU students did a work placement in Shenzhen in 2016. This year Shenzhen is seeing the second group of ENU students and they are doing very well.
Matrix Industrial Product Design is where Daniel and Stefano are doing their placement. A Shenzhen-based well-known industrial design platform, Matrix has been awarded Top 10 Industrial Design Companies in Shenzhen for many consecutive years. “The students from ENU are very studious and working surprisingly hard despite hardships. After they came, our employees in general have seen an improvement in their English. Design-wise, the difference between Chinese and Western culture can somehow bring new experience, because these foreign students always have novel ideas. This to some extent offers a new perspective into solving problems.” said the head of the company.
On July 3 (this Wednesday), Professor Wong Poh Kam from National University of Singapore (NUS), No.1 among Asian universities according to the 2019 QS World University Rankings, headed a project team to F518 Idea Land for a negotiation with local companies.
They said Shenzhen is a city well-poised for innovation, entrepreneurs and talent. Industrial design, in particular, is developing rapidly. NUS co-initiated an overseas college program with 15 innovation cities worldwide. The project with an aim to help students do work placements overseas has been running for over 10 years worldwide.
Shenzhen is a city with huge potential. They look forward to working with Shenzhen companies to bring more NUS students to Shenzhen. The first group of NUS students is understood to have started their placement in Shenzhen early this year. If the negotiation goes on well, more students will be able to come to Shenzhen and do a placement here as early as the beginning of next year.
In addition to NUS, many other universities including Coventry University of the UK are known to have been in contact with ESCE, hoping to facilitate the up and running of Shenzhen-based placement projects for college students.