It was a sunny afternoon (update: it quickly turns into thunderstorm tonight), and Yifan fall asleep. There is nothing for Wendy and I to do – pretty rare in the last two years, so we cherished the great opportunity to wander around. Wendy had a crazy idea, and I was even more crazier than her: I agreed.
The idea was, to drive 35 km away to Microsoft Shanghai’s new campus in Zizhu Science and Technology Center. The construction of this center is pretty important to us, since Microsoft is moving most of its technical people to that center, which, unfortunately, including Wendy.
Zizhu Science and Technology Park
Shanghai Zizhu Science and Technology Park 紫竹高科技园区 is located at the far south side of Minhang district. It is pretty far from the city. If you have some concepts of Shanghai Metro system, it is at the south end of the Metro Line #5 (to provide you some hits, Metro Line #1 is the north-south line in Shanghai. Metro Line #5 starts from the most south station of Metro Line #1. Got some idea about how far it is?).
The area became hot because Shanghai Jiao Tong University moved from it Xuhui Campus to the Minghang Campus in 1984, and continued to expand the area of the campus. I have spent 2 years studying on that campus, before I was relocated to the main Xuhui Campus. I left the campus in 1999, and got back to the Xuhui Campus in 2007, with a company setting up there.
The Change of Zizhu Park
The Zizhu Park was just a concept when I was there from 1995 to 1997. There are no buildings, and even more roads. If you check out Google Satellite map today, you still see almost nothing.
Later, some companies moved in, including Microsoft, Wicresoft (Microsoft’s joint venture, where I also spent about half a year), Intel. The area became a “real” science park. All of them was squeezed into several public buildings.
Image in courtesy of Zhou, Xiaohui
Image in courtesy of jeffwilcox
Recent few years ago, Intel built their campus there, and many people of Intel moved there. Then Wicresoft – a Wicresoft building and a campus. Then Omren…
Image in courtesy of jeffwilcox
Microsoft Zizhu Campus
The Microsoft Zizhu Campus was designed to be a huge project. The big complex consists of four buildings and a big cafeteria in the middle. The current project only includes the cafeteria and one building.
When finished, all Microsoft Shanghai technical resources will be moved there. To name a few: Microsoft Global Technical Center, Microsoft Advanced Technical Center, and many divisions of Microsoft Live Development Center. To be short, almost all the people I know in Microsoft moved there, except the Microsoft Shanghai Sales and Marketing Organization (they will move to the Grand Gateway).
Image in courtesy of jeffwilcox
Transportation is a Huge Problem
Zizhu Science Park is pretty nice. It is obviously not as popular in hi-tech companies as Zhang Jiang Hi-Tech Park. But it is catching up. The arrangement of the new Microsoft Zizhu campus is also very attractive – with VIP in-house health care, and sports facility, but the key problem of this campus is, it is too far away.
Wendy has tried every thing to find the best way to get to that campus. She tried to use normal route of A20 -> A4, or tried A20 -> Lianhua Road, or even tried to use Ferry at the Metro Line #8 station. The reason is discouraging. The campus is at least 35 km away from our home, and up to 60 km away from some of the engineers working there. That means, you need to prepare at least 2-3 hours on transportation to get there. Hmmm…. It is really to far away.
Let’s see how things evolves, when the moving day comes for the many different groups with nearly 1000 people.
I hope I can upload the photo of the new building now, but it is still in Wendy’s mobile phone, and I am still looking for a connection cable. I will update when I have photos available.
I drive 42 km (25 miles) everyday from home to zizhu office, about 40-45 minutes so it’s okay. But I don’t do it anymore, I rent an appartment there and spent less than 20 minutes everyday on commute now.
This area is totally *sub*urban. Middle of no where. As you can see from the picture that there is nobody walking on the road, and that’s normal even at working hour. But it’s good for me. The nearby restaurants serve students (SJTU and ECNU) mainly so the price is really cheap comparing to Xu Jiahui area. Anything you want is in driving distance and there is absolutely no traffic jam. I can drive around 70-80km/h (50mph) on local way.
It’s more like Redmond campus in fact.
Forget to mention that it’s better than Redmond because if you want to have any decent food, you can get there in 20 minutes. (金都路，都市路附近）
JT university moved into Minhang in 1984?? Is that a typo? As that is so very early, I wonder if maybe there is a mistake…1994 seems much more reasonable.
Shanghai planners have done a very good job over the years to map out the progress, I think all will agree.
However, one big concern I have (especially considering how Pudong was designed) is whether the city layout is creating an economy where cars are required. I don’t know, maybe its necessary, but there are a lot of disadvantages to that kind of society.
@Rhodo, it WAS in 1984 that Minhang Campus was built. It is not a typo. I remember it clearly that when I moved into the campus in 1995, it was already the 11th year of the campus.
@JianShuo, hey I moved to MH Campus on 1995 also!
@cookie, Wow, seems we share pretty similar experience: SJTU then Microsoft?
looks like it is a requirement to drive, if you plan to work in this new Microsoft campus :P
@DC, they have shuttle bus, but it also easily takes you 3 hours everyday on commute.
I think Jiao Da moved its freshmen to Ming Hang in year 1987. I remember it because my brother was the first group of students who went there. He told me there were cows on campus then :-)
I visited the Zhizu campus couple year ago, very impressed. That being said, MSFT stock has not done well in recent years. Today it touched 11 years low (around $16.70). It seems to me it’s hard for big organizations like MSFT to continue innovation.
@STLPlace, yes, the campus was first used in 1987 but the construction took place in 1984 (three years earlier), so they always use 1984 as the year the campus started.
It is said that it is confirmed that Microsoft is moving to Zizhu this June (2009). Not a very good news for people who once worked in the downtown of Shanghai.
Intrestingly the company am working for is also moving from Metro Tower to Zizu…same problem as you described above, the building complex there is nice but only the daily commute the headache
hi i’m going to visit to Shanghai Zizhu Campus in a couple of month.
where is the nearest hotel from the campus?
My family and I will be in Shanghai for the summer while my husband works at the MS office. We’d like to stay close to central Shanghai. How long would be the commute be by metro? I understand the he’ll have to take Metro #1 and transfer to #5. After that can he walk to campus?