|André Borschberg, CEO, co-founder and pilot of Solar Impulse gives speech at a press conference held in the Swiss Embassy in China on April 24, 2014. (People's Daily Online/ Wang Xin)|
As well as chocolates, watches, and beautiful scenery, Switzerland is also a world power in research and innovation. Solar Impulse, the world first solar flight, is an excellent example.
Carrying no fuel, the new single-seater Solar Impulse 2 aircraft is designed to make its first round-the-world flight in 2015; it plans to land in China as one of its stopovers and is seeking various cooperation opportunities in China.
Looking for support and partners in China
"I hope to bring this project to China," said André Borschberg, CEO, co-founder and pilot of Solar Impulse, at a press conference held in the Swiss Embassy in China on April 24, 2014.
"China is so dynamic and so open, and is always looking for new opportunities for suitable development," Dr. Jean-Jacques de Dardel, Ambassador of Switzerland in China remarked. "I find it natural that Solar Impulse 2 will interest the Chinese public.”.
André Borschberg explained the reasons why he plans to bring the project to China. His first aim is to see whether the Chinese government will be interested in the project. "The Chinese government has been very positive and very open to our requests so far," Borschberg said, expressing his feelings about his contacts with Chinese government at this early stage.
His second aim is to look for Chinese sponsors and solicit good ideas from them. "We are looking for partners to share the same values and vision with us, in using clean and efficient energy." he explained.
Thirdly, he is seeking cooperation or support in technology. His team is committed to fostering the younger generation, and he hopes Chinese students can be part of their team, see how the project is progressing, and help to work out how to make the flight a success.
Borschberg and his team have not yet confirmed where they will stop in China. Two factors will influence their decision. The first is weather conditions - because the aircraft is very sensitive to weather conditions, the current preference is for a location in southwest China such as Chongqing, or a coastal region like Shanghai. The second is the level of local interest in the project; the flight will target public events for the local government, and in schools and universities.