China-Euro Vehicle Technology (CEVT) R&D centre – the platform to cars couture

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Quayside, Lindholmen Science Park, Gothenburg.
Lindholmen Science Park is a part of the Norra Älvstranden region, located between the two bridges, Älvsborgsbron (Älvborgs Bridge) in the west and Götaälvbron (Göta River Bridge) in the east. The area has been important since the Viking Age and before, where the Göta river outlet acted as a trade center, uniting the prosperous inland regions and the sea.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

Situated in the collaborative environment for knowledge intensive companies at the Lindholmen Science Park in Gothenburg, the China-Euro Vehicle Technology (CEVT) R&D centre was established on 20 February 2013 as a joint Volvo Cars and Geely platform for advancing the partnership in product development and strategy between the two companies, owned by Geely Holding. Today it has about 200 resident engineers that will be increased according to plans, to 400. They are to focus on the innovations of the basic modular architecture platform for the next generation of leading C-segment cars, that includes hatchback, sedan and estate models.

The 22nd of January is just a few months short of ten years, when on 3 September 2004, the naming ceremony of the Swedish East Indiaman Götheborg was performed by Her Majesty Queen Silvia, at the Opera House at Lilla Bommen, just on the opposite side of the Göta river. The purpose of the Gotheborg III project was very long term, aimed at building upon old good relations bringing the two countries of Sweden and China once again closer to each other. It was an idea that took hold and to some extent might have contributed to the events leading up to this centre being located here and now.

What is currently in process between Volvo Cars and the Geely organization is groundbreaking in many ways. It is industrial and knowledge management history in the making. This has naturally attracted the attention of the Centre for International Business Studies (CIBS), headed by Professor Claes G. Alvstam at the School of Business, Economics and and Law at the University of Gothenburg, where I am affiliate, that has followed China’s entry into the global automobile industry with great interest.

It was thus an evolutionary progression of things that we today found ourselves visiting the CEVT R&D centre at Lindholmen.

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Designed by architect Gert Wingårdh, Kuggen, the striking and colourful building for innovation and entrepreneurship and a showcase for sustainable development was completed in 2011 is part of Campus Lindholmen. The University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology have established both independent and joint study and research units at Campus Lindholmen.

The modular architecture platform is innovative in the sense that it allows several different vehicle platforms to be developed from one single architecture. This means that vehicle dimensions, crash safety, engine suspension, comfort nd handling for example, can all be custom tailored and adapted to a specific market’s requirements to similar models of cars.

“Even if the wheelbase is maintained, the distance between the wheels and the bumper may vary in accordance with the style of the automobile. Or the size of the fuel tank may be different, but perhaps the supply nozzle may be the same.” – Mats Fägerhag [1], CEO of CEVT, Global Times, 16 Sept 2013. Continue reading “China-Euro Vehicle Technology (CEVT) R&D centre – the platform to cars couture”

Geely Headquarters and Cixi Plant, Hangzhou


In China’s First Automobile Health and Development Summit held in Beijing in 2012, Geely’s Emgrand EC8 was nominated one of the Top 10 environmental friendly cars for 2012. ( April 2013).
From left to right Swati Ravi, Emily Xu, Cheryl Marie Cordeiro and Joyce Wu, PR Manager of Geely.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Geely HQ and Cixi Assembly plant
Friday the 15th of November was the fifth day of our visit to Shanghai in 2013. We had focused quite some on the Chinese automobile industry and today it was time to meet with Geely. Both the Geely Cixi Assembly plant and the Geely Headquarters are located in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, a few hours drive inland, from Shanghai. Continue reading “Geely Headquarters and Cixi Plant, Hangzhou”

Lost Heaven, the Bund, Shanghai

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Creative fruit platters.
Lost Heaven, the Bund, Shanghai.

Text & Photo © C Nestor, JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

A seduction of the senses at first step through its doors. Deep ruby red against black lacquered wooden furniture, plush table settings and good Yunnan food. Outside, around the corner in a short stroll, the beautiful lights of The Bund after sunset. It is little wonder as to what elements make Lost Heaven an appealing dining venue for that just perfect romantic Shanghai night out.

Good thing, the place, has an address. Continue reading “Lost Heaven, the Bund, Shanghai”

Visiting Volvo Group R&D, Shanghai

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Visiting Volvo Group, Trucks Technology, Advanced Technology and Research, Shanghai, China.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

On the second day of our visit in Shanghai, we had the pleasure of meeting with the Director of Advanced Technology & Research at the Volvo Group Headquarter in Shanghai. If it is confusing for a Swede to keep track of the difference between Volvo Cars (owned by the Chinese Geely Holding Group) and Volvo AB, very much still a Swedish company, it is even worse for the Chinese, where a representative from Volvo Group Shanghai told that she often got questions from relatives if she could help them buy a Volvo car on staff discount.

Today’s meeting was with the Volvo Group. Continue reading “Visiting Volvo Group R&D, Shanghai”

The Nordic Centre at Fudan University, Shanghai

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The combined delegation of Management and Organisation,
and the Centre for International Business Studies (CIBS) of the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, at the Nordic Centre, Fudan University, Shanghai.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

It was a brief early morning walk from the Crowne Plaza Hotel to the Nordic Centre, located in the Handan campus of Fudan University, one of China’s top ranked universities.

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Inside the Nordic Centre with a glimpse of its mosaic mural.

Currently sharing location with the Foreign Affairs Office of Fudan University, the Nordic Centre was opened by the Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland together with the President of Fudan University, Professor Yang Fujia in 1995. It was to be a platform for collaboration between the university and the 14 Nordic universities located in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Today, the centre has 27 university affiliates that include the University of Iceland. Continue reading “The Nordic Centre at Fudan University, Shanghai”

North of the Bund, Shanghai


Crowne Plaza Shanghai Fudan Hotel
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

When looking at the facade of the Crowne Plaza Shanghai Fudan Hotel it is difficult to not read into the facets of its facade some influences from the constructivist art movement that grew out of Russian Futurism in the early years of the 20th century.

Constructivist architecture flourished in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and early 1930s. Its ideas were revolutionary at the time and combined advanced technology and engineering with social purposes.

This era was also a formative one for Shanghai, as it acted as an eastern melting pot between East and West in the Warlord epoque of China in the 1910s, around the years of the Russian revolution and the financial boom of WWI. As such one would not be too surprised to find traces of these ideas right here in the Yangpu district of Shanghai where much of China’s academia flourishes today.

It is even difficult not to draw references to Russian industrialism and earlier, the cubism of Picasso and Braque, in the facets of the facade looking like human beings standing on top of, lifting, carrying and supporting each other. Architecture depicting the human strive to higher and higher achievements.

The Russian bicyclist painting by Natalia Goncharova (Cyclist, 1913) comes to mind as another reference to the Russian futurism of the 1910’s. This can be seen in contrast to the slightly older painting by Ramon Casas, of himself and Pere Romeu on a tandem bicycle, 1897. The two works of art illustrate a dramatic change in ideologies and thus realities, that had come by in a mere few decades. The latter was painted specifically for the interior of the Els Quatre Gats in Barcelona, a restaurant and bar that was pretty much the center of the early Modernisme art movement in Barcelona at the turn of the century, and also the very place where Picasso had his first exhibition.
Continue reading “North of the Bund, Shanghai”

Teahouse in Hangzhou

Teahouse. 高山流水.
Tea-drinking at teahouses is a tradition in China that goes back to the Three Kingdoms of Wei, Wu and Shu, 220-280 AD.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2010-2013

Walking through the streets of Hangzhou, I could never quite grasp the sentimental feelings of its romantic past even as my eye caught the elegant lines of temples, the fine pagodas and the many intricately carved bridges that made the landscape so picturesque.

But arrive at the calm and mirroring waters of West Lake, and the realization sets in – that the city through numerous phases of transformations, carries within its aura a purity of natural beauty and a sense of timelessness. And it is perhaps this, that rocked the souls of the literati both past and present.
Continue reading “Teahouse in Hangzhou”

The Blue Frog, Shanghai World Financial Center SWFC

The Blue Frog restaurant, Shanghai World Financial Center.

The Blue Frog at the Shanghai World Financial Center.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

Even before my first visit to Shanghai, friends were recommending I visit two places, the Shanghai World Financial Center and the Blue Frog restaurant that as a friend put it, served “very good fusion food”. And I couldn’t have done serendipitously better than by dining at the Blue Frog at the Shanghai World Financial Center! Continue reading “The Blue Frog, Shanghai World Financial Center SWFC”

Lulling hours in Shanghai, where old meets new

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Yuyuan, Shanghai 2011.

Along the streets at Yuyuan, Shanghai.
Text and Photo © CM Cordeiro 2011

Waking up in China’s largest city that is Shanghai, amongst its more than 24 million inhabitants certainly puts a perspective on how much of an impact you might make during a single day in your life when you finally step out the door and make your way around with your errands.

In just about twenty to thirty years, Shanghai as a city has grown at an amazing speed. The skyscrapers seen today along the Huangpu River, The Bund and Lujiazui were non-existent just a stone’s throw back in time, where it would’ve been difficult for most anyone to recognize the landscape and skyline of the central finance district between these decades if you were not at first shown pictures of the landscape from then till now.

The past decade alone has seen a paradigm shift in Shanghai from a city with Communist ideals to one that is cosmopolitan with a global outlook. Much of this is the fruitful result of the Chinese government’s efforts at economic reforms in China beginning in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

If any organization could trace and reflect an aspect of Shanghai’s modern history in global trade and the resulting impact of the Chinese government’s efforts at bringing China and its state-owned enterprises to the global scene, then Baosteel Group Corporation, the second largest steel producer in the world with approximate annual revenues of around USD $21.5 billion would be a good case study to examine. With 45 wholly owned subsidiaries in markets across the world, in countries with as diverse cultures such as Brazil, France, Germany, Russia and in Asian and Southeast Asian countries such as Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore , Baosteel reflects the speed and tenacity at which Chinese organizations are able to make themselves visibly global whilst simultaneously catering to their very demanding and highly competitive domestic market.

Still, amongst the city’s global ambitions supported and run by its busy inhabitants who seem to maneuver through the city via just as many noisy and exuberant vehicles that never cease their honking, you’ll find in Shanghai that some waking hours beckon a certain lull to the senses, and are in effect… quieter than others. And it is in these hours that you can sit, think and breathe the calmer soul of the city as a mist that invites you to contemplate its living as an artfully drawn landscape, one perhaps seen in Chinese watercolour on silk or paper. It is these brief lulling hours of Shanghai, at dawn or just after dusk, that paints a picture of the place both past and present, juxtaposed in front of your very eyes in material form.
Continue reading “Lulling hours in Shanghai, where old meets new”