The Geely Innovation Center in Gothenburg, Sweden, has just opened its first building in what is to become the Uni3 by Geely Campus in 2021 and will eventually be composed of five buildings in a small dedicated cluster. Read about why Geely invested in the Gothenburg region, the thinking behind the campus, and get insight into some of the personal views of Li Shufu, founder and chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.
With over 40,000 directly employed personnel within the automotive industry representing 98 per cent of Sweden’s passenger car industry and 50 per cent of the country’s trucking industry located around Gothenburg, the region is one of the world’s most knowledge-dense places with regard to the future development of personal mobility and transportation.
Geely moved into this automotive version of Silicon Valley back in 2010 with the acquisition of Volvo Cars and has since grown with many more companies in the region. In fact, so many Geely businesses are based in the area that a strategic decision was taken in 2017 to build a large campus in Gothenburg to co-locate them in one place.
The project leader and business executive for the project is Mr. Gang Wei, a long time Geely executive in Sweden, who has now become a familiar face to most Gothenburgers.
With 105,000 square metre of space, the building complex does not go unnoticed in the center of Gothenburg, a region with its just under a million inhabitants.
“There are a number of reasons why we stand here today.” Gang Wei explains. “It all started with Geely Auto’s R&D center CEVT here in Lindholmen who grew faster than expected. They were sitting in leased offices and spread out all over the place really. When Li Shufu visited us sometime back in 2015 we discussed the possibilities to create our own unique building, a proper home for Geely in Sweden.”
In true Geely fashion, Gang Wei was then given the task of coming up with a business plan and strategy for making this happen. Li Shufu famously puts a lot of trust into the local leadership, something that often unnerves western employees who are used to a more centralized management style.
A project team was created and negotiations with the city for suitable land to build on was started, because as usual, speed was important – CEVT was growing, and several other Geely companies had opened in Gothenburg, such as Lynk & Co, Geely Group Motorsport and Geely Design.
“We realized that we had an opportunity to create something more than just a development center. We could really infuse the building complex with a science park philosophy, but with our own unique Geely touch to it. A west meets east, technology and business meets culture-kind of place.” Gang Wei continues.
The ideas were presented to Geely Chairman, Li Shufu, who gave his blessing to the concept and added some ideas of his own. “He told me, Gang, the success of this project comes down to the user satisfaction. The employees will be the judges, not me. This has to be more than a building, it must be a living and inspiring place for ourselves and our guests.” Gang Wei explains.
This was the way Uni3 by Geely came about. It was not, as many pundits in the industry might think, a result of a need to develop technologies in Sweden. That is already being done by all the Geely Group’s various R&D companies, some of which has already moved into the first building.
The Uni3 campus will be become host to both Geely companies and external tenants that wish to have their base in the heart of a tech center. Of course, while the technology developers in the campus will focus mainly on mobility and software solutions as a base, we believe having a diversity of tenants adds inspiration to the work place. In essence – innovation comes through inspiration, from meetings of people, cultures, and competences.
And Gang Wei’s own visions? “I want this to be a fun place, where you are happy to bring your family and friends, where you look forward to coming to work on Monday mornings. And to show the world how we in Geely can accomplish things with both speed, quality, and beauty. So far I think we have succeeded quite well.”
The whole campus will be completed by 2022 and will become a landmark for Geely businesses in Gothenburg, for employees, customers, and partners alike. To learn more about the Geely Innovation Centre-project, go here: www.geelyinnovationcentre.eu