In 2002 the academy of arts and design at tsinghua

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In 2002, the Academy of Arts and Design at Tsinghua University organized and hosted the Tsinghua International Design Management Symposium. This was the first international symposium on design management held in China. The symposium gathered together leaders in the design field, including Earl Powell, Dieter Rams, Patrick Whitney, Harald Leschke and Tetsuyuki Hirano. Over 200 participants across China and overseas joined it. The symposium accentuated international collaboration between colleges. In 2002, together with eight schools, Tsinghua University and University of Salford, UK, initiated the Asia Link-Design Management Network program, which was funded by the European Union. Figure 26.3 Lenovo computer design development process from 1997 to 2005. Design and Design Management in China 429 The design market in China grew rapidly after 1999. One of the reasons was keen market competition, which increased the demand for newly designed products. The other reason was that overseas design companies began to enter the Chinese markets to develop joint businesses with the big companies, such as the start up of collaboration in design between Lenovo and the American design company Ziba. In this period of time, the rapid emergence of the mobile phone market has also nurtured many design houses, which specialize in providing full services from styling design to
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mockups for the IT industry. At the same time, the capacities in all aspects of manufacturing further advanced in China. More multinational companies began to set up production for the more sophisticated and precise products. In 1993, Motorola was the first multinational company to set up a R&D centre in Beijing. Numerous foreign companies followed. According to research by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in 2004, among the world s 700 largest multinational companies, thirty-five percent had R&D setups in China. This percentage falls just below that of the US and UK (Shi Xing Hui 2006). However, in the joint-venture companies in China, design is often caught up in internal conflicts. From China s perspective, instead of systematically importing foreign designs from joint partners, they wish to develop more suitable products for the domestic market and strengthen their own innovation ability. But foreign partnering companies are not willing to develop products in China. They stipulated that all design and development has to be done abroad. Some do not even allow the Chinese team to be involved in their design and development processes. Design became a source of discontent between the joint venture partners because of values, intellectual property rights and different interests of the parties. For these reasons, the progress of design was stifled. As an example, the Volkswagen Santana model produced in China has taken over fifteen years to upgrade.
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