It’s a pity I won’t have any time to poke around the cultural delights of Ningbo during my flying visit here. This ancient port city 220km from Shanghai has a history that dates back nearly 5,000 years and features the oldest private library in China and a rather magnificent drum tower.
The city really started to flourish in the Tang Dynasty when it built up close and peaceful trading relationships with merchants from the Middle East. During the sixteenth century, the Portuguese followed in their footsteps, though in a much more forceful and violent manner by plundering and pillaging the cities in the area.
The British behaved no better when they occupied Ningbo in 1841 during the First Opium War. Following the signing of the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842, they claimed the city as one of their prizes and ran it as one of the first five treaty ports.
These days, Ningbo is one of the richest cities in Zhejiang Province and one of the world’s busiest ports. Judging by the huge poster guarding the entrance of my hotel advertising a multitude of job openings, not to mention the fancy shopping and cultural entertainment complex that is being built nearby, it certainly appears to be thriving.
I’m looking forward to seeing more of what is happening around here today when I visit the factory of a partner from the auto industry. It’s going to be exciting, too, to see at first-hand how companies are driving the development of EVs and to learn more about the role that our technology is playing in enabling them to make this transition.
Here’s hoping that the next time I come here I’ll have more time to see its older cultural treasures.