A field-trip to Kangnai Shoe Factory

The Career Department Office is working hard to foster and consolidate the relationships between Wenzhou-Kean University and local companies. In August 2020, the CEO of Kangnai Group – one of the leading shoe manufacturers in China – visited Wenzhou-Kean University for the first time. The meeting between the CEO and Prof. Huang Yaoyao (Executive Director of the School of Design), among others, ended with the promise of keep working together on innovative projects of mutual interest.

On Thursday 5 November, Kangnai Group kindly invited us to visit their headquarter in Wenzhou. A group of brilliant Industrial Design sophomores – accompanied by Ms. Wang Qianqian (Career Department Office Manager) and Prof. Maurizio Vrenna 毛立 (Faculty of the Industrial Design Program) – had the chance to learn more about manufacturing techniques, materials, and fashion trends.

Once arrived at Kangnai Group headquarter – a small city within the city – they were received by Mr. Cai Ming. The tour started with a visit to the Kangnai Interactive Experience Center. The guides illustrated the remarkable achievements made by Kangnai Group in the last decades, the different models they produce, and the materials used. Some of the shoes are made with premium materials imported from all over the world. Nevertheless, Kangnai is now not only producing classic leather shoes, but also fancy and sporty models for a younger public.

Important people visiting Kangnai Group during the years, including President Xi Jingping.

At Kangnai Interactive Experience Center it is also possible to 3D-scan your feet, to enjoy a tailor-made experience. The data are sent to your WeChat account and you can directly purchase the shoes that fit you best!

Afterwards, students had a nice conversation with Mr. Cai on the history of the company, and the future of shoemaking in Wenzhou. They also discussed about sustainability, workers policies, and business models. It was an inspiring educational moment.

Then, they visited the factory. A modern environment with performing machines and skilled workers. Students were lucky to see many shoes models being manufactured at the same time and for different markets. For most of the students, it was the first time visiting a factory.

The trip ended up with a tour of the store, with many fancy shoes models for women, men, and children! And a great group picture!

For the students who are interested in working on research projects with Kangnai group, or that are considering to have an internship there, you can connect with Prof. Maurizio Vrenna by email at mvrenna@kean.edu