UNC Kenan-Flagler and Tsinghua University, China’s top technology university, officially launched a new joint Research Center for Logistics and Economic Development in July with four days of events at the center in Beijing.
Faculty, staff, students and officials from both institutions and corporate supporters participated in events, which included a ribbon cutting, the center’s first board meeting, a workshop in the center’s logistics simulation laboratory and informal meetings to explore opportunities for collaborative research.
The new center will expand research on the issues central to doing business in China, from supply-chain management in rapidly developing economies to emerging innovation networks, corporate governance, logistics infrastructure and economic development. It will serve as a launching point for Kenan Institute and Kenan-Flagler Business School initiatives to meet the needs of the growing percentage of U.S. managers who must learn to compete and collaborate with business interests in China.
The center’s technology laboratories enable researchers from both universities to collaborate in developing technology tools and techniques that reduce the costs of moving goods and materials between China and its trading partners. Of particular interest are radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies that can support increased trade and commerce in emerging markets.
“Throughout the world, logistics has become an increasingly important value-adding process,” said Center for Logistics and Digital Strategy Director Noel Greis. “Reductions in logistics costs will help both Chinese and U.S. companies improve their competitiveness and pursue new business opportunities in China and other global markets.”
“Tsinghua is renowned as China’s top university for science, technology and medicine and is a central player in community and economic development in China,” said John D. Kasarda, director of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Center for Logistics and Digital Strategy at the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise has led development of the joint venture.
“We see this partnership as a major step forward in better understanding this important world market and forming the linkages that will improve the competitive position of North Carolina and U.S. businesses in Asia,” Kasarda said.
The partnership brings together two of the world’s leading educational institutions for logistics and operations research to focus on logistics and global supply-chain management research that can enhance trade between the United States and China, support economic development and addresses issues of business competitiveness, such as offshore outsourcing.
UNC and Tsinghua University are already collaborating on a series of activities in support of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Additional collaborative efforts are planned for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.
The center’s programs and research will be shaped by an advisory board comprising representatives from UNC, Tsinghua and industry affiliates from both China and the United States.
“This Center will provide a strategic physical and institutional presence on mainland China for our corporate partners,” said Greis.
An international partnership agreement to establish the center was signed by UNC Chancellor James Moeser and Tsinghua President Gu Binglin in late 2006. A series of launch events are planned for both Beijing and North Carolina during the coming year.