A temporary facility for Technion has been created out of a former administration building on campus, and some sources put the arrival of Technion staff and faculty as soon as spring 2016. Guangdong-Technion is expected to be fully operational by 2020.
The Guangdong and local Shantou governments have contributed roughly 147 million U.S. dollars to the construction of the Guangdong-Technion site.The Li Ka Shing Foundation has donated 130 million U.S. dollars to Technion in Israel — in part for infrastructure and development at its Guangdong site, according to a press release on the LKSF site. Those funds, the release also said, were largely generated by the sale of Waze — an Israeli GPS technology Li’s company Horizons had invested in — to Google. Technology website TechCrunch put the sale of Waze to Google at 1.1 billion U.S. dollars.
This week’s events at Shantou University will include a cornerstone laying ceremony for Technion on Wednesday morning and a symposium the same afternoon entitled “What Tomorrow Looks Like: Innovation and the Future of Education.” A tour of STU’s recently unveiled new medical college will take place, as well as the signing of collaborative agreements between the Chinese and the Israelis, according to a tentative itinerary and schedule of events.
Former Prime Minister Peres and Li Ka Shing have met previously, in 2013 on Li’s first visit to Israel. The relationship between the Li Ka Shing Foundation and Israel’s Technion dates back to 2011, according to a statement from Israeli Missions Around the World, when Foundation representatives visited Israel, followed by a visit from Technion president Peretz Lavie to Hong Kong.
A Jerusalem Post article from October 2013 describes former Prime Minister Peres as “marvelling” over China’s transformation from poverty to wealth over the last several decades.
“Whoever thought it would become the second-greatest economy in the world? It’s unprecedented!” Peres is quoted as saying.
Shantou University and the surrounding area of Tuopu and Daxue Lu have undergone extensive renovations in preparation for both the cornerstone laying ceremony and the wider, long-term presence of Technion.
Reconstruction of Daxue Lu outside the university — a project which had gone on for several years — appeared to be finalized several days ago, with the introduction of bilingual Chinese and English street signs. Extensive planting of trees, flowers, and other landscaping has occurred along Daxue Lu and in Tuopu, the section of Shantou immediately adjacent to the new Technion and sports park site, and formerly one of Shantou’s grittiest areas.
East Gate, the university’s social and culinary center — where plastic chairs, food carts, and rusty metal doors have been the norm for years — has recently undergone its own extensive renovation. Months’ worth of renovation to a budget hotel there recently finished to reveal a new facade, which matches the color of the sports arena hotel. Tiles have been laid in the narrow alley of shops and restaurants inside the gate, and uniform Chinese-English bilingual signs were put up over restaurants and shops late on Saturday night — albeit with English that would cause the average reader to pause a beat or two: “Demon” was the translation for a local footwear shop, and “The Goods” for a local mom-and-pop dollar store.