Field trip to the busiest port in the world


Previously on CEB blogpost adventures…our Shanghai daily life and cultural integration. But China is so much more than just Shanghai!

In addition to the everyday life aspects I discussed in the previous post, which we are now familiar with, we also gained a much greater awareness Chinese culture as a whole. For example our trip to Ningbo, with the other ESSCA students allowed us to improve our business knowledge of Chinese economics by experiencing a real-life local trip.


Ningbo is part of Zhejiang province, which is one of China’s new Free Trade Zone (FTZ). FTZs in China are geographical areas where the goods can be landed, manufactured and re-exported without the intervention of customs authority. Hence, the aim is to create a regulatory environment which favors specific industries within each cluster. For example, the main focus of Zhejiang FTZ is the international maritime services and push commodity trade liberalization.

Other interesting facts about Ningbo, known as one of the oldest cities of China: it is the second largest marine port in the world and the first one in terms of cargo tonnage. Who would have thought that this barely known city abroad contributes to 1/4th of the total Chinese GDP?

In order to get there, we drove over the second longest cross-ocean bridge in the world (37 km), Hangzhou Bay Bridge, which connects Shanghai to Ningbo. (The longest bridge will become the one connecting Hong Kong to Macau).

During the 4 days we spent there, we visited business incubators, factories and museums. Through the visit of a plugs factory, a light bulb factory and a supplier’s plant producing fluorescent lighting products, we had the opportunity to see the high level of automation in Chinese plants and production sites.

Another important aspect we discovered by visiting incubation hubs was the support Chinese government is giving to both Chinese and foreign entrepreneurs, starting their business here.

We also had the time to discover Ningbo’s night life, especially during our last night, spent with the entire group and the professors in the oldest bar of the town. Surely there is no better way to get to know our ESSCA classmates than sharing some beers and playing pool!

This field trip was a great opportunity for us to build friendships with ESSCA students but also to acquire a practical perspective on Chinese businesses and get more hands on regarding what we have been discussing in class.

On the next episode: CEB social project in Shanghai !

Your correspondent in Shanghai,