Located on the eastern coast of Zhejiang Province in China, Ningbo, in ancient terms, means “tranquil waves.” Although it is a coastal city, there’s so much more to Ningbo than its beautiful beaches. Once of Ningbo’s top travel destinations is Xuedou Mountain, which is particularly popular among hiking and trekking enthusiasts thanks to its picturesque landscape. When it comes to its natural environment, the Chinese government has a multi-tiered system that classifies mountains, among other natural resources, into different tiers depending on their inherent value. Xuedou Mountain has been labeled a 5A mountain, the highest tier for mountains. Xuedou is also close to another travel destination with a stunning view, the Shenxianju Scenic Area. So, lets head over to Ningbo and spend some time getting ourselves right again.
Xuedou Mountain, home to clean spring water
Xuedou Mountain is perhaps best known for its spring water, white as milk, that seeps through a hole at its peak. Located in Ningbo, Xuedou Mountain lives up to its name with beautiful waterfalls, valleys, and ponds. We walked along the hiking trail that meandered through the bamboo forest at a leisurely pace. We took our time and climbed the mountain as if we were floating on some fresh, breezy wind. In terms of waterfalls, Xuedou Mountain has seven that are large enough to have their own names. If we count the smaller waterfalls, the list grows to 15. Although some are man-made waterfalls with nearby ponds and pools, they blend in seamlessly with their surroundings. You might not even realize they were built by people. We followed the trail for a while, enjoying the view, then took a monorail to Xuedou Mountain’s peak.
One of the highlights on the monorail ride was the Qianzhang Rock Waterfall. At almost 190m-tall, the waterfall showed us just how beautiful Xuedou Mountain indeed was. In fact, the waterfall was so grand and impressive, we had to tilt our heads far back to get a full view. The water, pulled down by the forces of gravity into the pool below at great speed, was mesmerizing. We couldn’t take our eyes off of it. We also saw some rainbows created by sprays of water reflecting light.
After the waterfall, we moved on to the Miaogao Platform. Meaning “a tall building with a peculiar landscape,” Miaogao Platform was originally built as a temple, but it was later converted into a villa for Chiang Kai-shek. Perched on top of a steep cliff, the Platform gives visitors a chance to enjoy the panoramic view of the entire mountain stretching below their feet. It truly is a magnificent place to have a villa.
Shenxianju Scenic Area, a village of magical Taoist hermits
Located in Taizhou, the Shenxianju Scenic Area is a special place. Even its name sounds auspicious. According to legend, Emperor Zhenzong of the Northern Song Dynasty was smitten by the village's beautiful landscape on his brief visit, and decided to call it a “village of magical Taoist hermits.”
Shenxianju features one of the best volcanic rhyolite rock formations in the world created by repeated volcanic eruptions, elevation, and erosion. Its stunning views were enough to warrant a category 5A designation, the top category for natural and scenic resources in China, by the Chinese government. There are two ways to get up Shenxianju. You can either walk or take a ride on the cable car. If you decide to walk, you can enjoy Shenxianju’s magnificent landscape at your own pace. If you choose to take the cable car, you can spend more time at the peak and enjoy the panoramic view.
Half-way up a sheer cliff face, Shenxianju has a narrow plant pathway. Because the pathway is only wide enough to fit one or two people, it creates a thrilling illusion that you’re walking on thin air. The mountain and valley stretch below your feet, and the rocky cliff face stares down imposingly from above. So, it’s best to take it carefully, one step at a time. The impressive mountain peaks at Shenxianju appear isolated, but they are, in fact, connected. Before you know it, you’ll reach Nantian bridge. 120m in length and 100m above the valley floor, Nantian bridge is a suspension bridge that connects two of Shenxianju’s peaks. It will begin to sway even at the slightest of breezes, so you can add some more thrill and excitement to your trip to Shenxianju.
Other exciting attractions at the heart of Ningbo city
During the Tang Dynasty, Ningbo was a major international port and served as the starting point of the Maritime Silk Road. Later, in the 19th century, the Qing Dynasty opened the port of Nanjing to foreign trade with the Treaty of Nanking. Today, the city continues to thrive as a hub for trade thanks to the “One Belt One Road” initiative being promoted by the Chinese government.
1. Former residence of Chiang Kai-shek
This is where President Chiang Kai-shek lived until he retreated to Taiwan after his defeat in the Chinese Civil War. Fortunately, the house was preserved in its original condition under the orders of Chairman Mao Zedong. It is famous for buildings such as Feng Hao Fang, Yu Tai Yan Pu, Xiao Yang Fang, etc., all of which you can get a taste of China’s modern history.
2. The endless Hangzhou Bay Bridge
To go from Shanghai to Ningbo, you have to cross the Hangzhou Bay Bridge. At 36km in length, the bridge cuts the travel time between Shanghai and Ningbo to just two hours (originally six hours). The seemingly endless bridge stretches across the sea and adds more excitement to your trip to Ningbo.
Fantastic location, the starting point of the Maritime Silk Road.
As one of China’s major port cities, Ningbo is a petrochemical production, automobile assembly, and logistics/distribution hub. A pivotal reason to Ningbo’s success (currently, no. 2 in China and no. 4 in the world in terms of cargo volume) is its impressive port, which is positioned perfectly on the eastern coast of China and is long and deep enough to fit 300,000-ton vessels comfortably. Its proximity to Shanghai (no. 1 port city in China) also gives Ningbo a geographical advantage over other cities (only two hours by car to Shanghai). Home to automotive manufacturers and new materials producers, including Volkswagen and Mando, Ningbo has a highly affluent consumer market with a per capita GRDP of USD 12,000 (as of 2011), which is twice the per capita GDP of China overall. Moreover, Ningbo offers excellent benefits to corporations thanks to a city government that promotes corporate-friendly policies.
Fantastic location, the starting point of the Maritime Silk Road.
Back in 2011, Mando opened a new factory in Hangzhou Bay New Zone due in large part to the fact that Ningbo already had Geely Auto Group and Shanghai Volkswagen. Geely Auto Group is a home-grown Chinese automaker that sent shock waves through the global media when it acquired a 100% stake of Volvo’s passenger vehicle division in 2010. Upon its acquisition of Volvo, Geely needed a supplier capable of providing a stable stream of high-quality parts in order to improve the quality of its products, which is why Geely pursued Mando to create a joint venture. As a result, Mando established the “Mando Ningbo Corporation” in March 2011. To date, the Mando Ningbo Corporation remains the only joint venture among the seven corporations controlled by Mando in China. Mando (Ningbo Corporation) is currently enjoying sustained success, supplying automotive parts to Geely, Volvo, and Lynk&Co (a collaborative brand between Volvo and Geely).
Aside from the Mando Ningbo Corporation, the other five production plants, one research institute, and one trading corporation are fully financed by Mando. Based on its partnership with Mando (Ningbo Corporation), Geely used parts manufactured by Mando in the platform of its very first vehicle developed jointly between the two corporations. That means vehicles produced under the Geely brand for the local market and the Volvo brand sold in China and Europe all use high-quality Mando parts. In August 2014, Mando (Ningbo Corporation) signed a long-term supply contract (ten years) with Geely Auto Group to supply brakes and suspensions. With regards to sales, Mando reached KRW 340 billion in 2016 and KRW 503 billion in 2018.
Pioneering the New Silk Road.
The joint venture with Geely Auto Group served as the foundation upon which Mando could lay down some solid roots down into local companies in China. In March 2011, Mando (Ningbo Corporation) - a joint venture between Mando and Geely - began assembly and production of suspension products as well as brake corner modules. Moreover, in 2012, Mando (Ningbo Corporation) initiated production of brake products. In 2018, upon signing its long-term supply contract with Geely Auto Group, Mando (Ningbo Corporation) was recognized for its technical excellence, winning an “Outstanding Development Award” at Geely’s Supplier Awards Competition. Continued production and supply of parts has led to the supply of modules, and a stronger cooperative relationship between the two companies.
Geely Auto Group's popular SUV model - Boyue
When Geely Auto Group began its partnership with Mando in 2014, it was selling only 416,00 vehicles per year. Since then, however, Geely has seen its sales rise sharply - 799,000 units in 2016, then 1,500,000 unit in i2018. In 2019, despite the overall slump in the Chinese automotive market, Geely’s sales figures have managed to stay fairly stable.
Mando (Ningbo Corporation) is doing its best to raise the quality of its automotive parts in China. Given the cooperation and exchange between Korea and China, it is exciting to anticipate what the future holds for Ningbo as it pioneers different paths for the New Silk Road.