December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This purpose of this day is to promote people’s understanding of the issue of disabilities, as well as mobilize their support for the dignity, rights, and happiness of persons with disabilities.

On this day, we had a chat with Marina, Director of Training and Development at Inclusion Factory, who took us on a short journey to get to know and understand “them”:


As the first factory set up by a German corporation in China for the welfare of persons with disabilities, the Inclusion Factory has committed itself to providing job opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities and supporting them to be better included in the society.

Today, there are 35 employees in the factory, majority of whom are persons intellectual disabilities.
Here, they work, having a stable income; they have also increased their capabilities, making new friends, and live more dignified lives.
Last year, five female employees with intellectual disabilities became fashion models and were part of a photoshoot for Zurita – a Spanish women’s fashion brand, showcasing that beauty belong to All.
This year, more than 900 square meters of space was designed and built with the plan to increase the number of employees in the factory to 50, so that more persons with intellectual disabilities will have employment opportunities.

“You work, they also work. You have dreams, so do they. We are actually all alike.”
To Marina, there are more similarities than differences between persons with disabilities and those without.
Everyone’s passion for life and hope for the future are the same.

In recent years, Taicang’s idea to “build a well-off society holistically without leaving persons with disabilities behind” has allowed more persons with disabilities to gain employment and be included into society.

Marina has been observing these movement.
She happily embraces the various changes, while also considering how more people can join in breaking down the “invisible wall” between persons with disabilities and those without.

Marina says that changing the “hardware” is the easy part. What is difficult to change is the “software”.
Hope that more families of persons with disabilities will change their mindset and attitudes and encourage their family members with disabilities to go out of their homes to work.
Hope that more people will interact with persons with disabilities on an equal level, not to pity people with disabilities, but rather listen, understand, and provide them with more opportunities.

Let us all live freely under the sun,
pursue a better and more inclusive society,
We are on the way.

Reporter Xu Jing/Caption Chen Yichuan/Video

Our mission at Inclusion Factory is inclusion of people with disabilities into society; our team as a whole, also has to strive to create a diverse and inclusive environment for all our staff members. We are all different in terms of abilities, skills, countries and the provinces we come from; we have different educational and career background, we vary in age, gender and marital status among other differences.

Our team has significantly grown in the past few years. Now, we are already a team of 44 people! As our team has grown bigger, and we all focus on our own daily tasks, we don′t have time to reflect what it means for us as a team to work together towards our mission of promoting inclusion in China.


ICUnet helps capitalize on culture. We provide training, coaching, consulting and facilitation. Our customized portfolio includes localization of corporate culture programs, strategic workshops for global project roll outs, leadership skills for culturally diverse teams and overseas assignment training for hundreds of executives. We are a German, family owned business and our current Asia-Pacific clients include: Geely, BMW, Daimler, BASF, Beiersdorf, Brose, C-Trip, Siemens, Neusoft.

About CUnet

ICUnet helps capitalize on culture. ICUnet provide training, coaching, consulting and facilitation. Our customized portfolio includes localization of corporate culture programs, strategic workshops for global project roll outs, leadership skills for culturally diverse teams and overseas assignment training for hundreds of executives. We are a German, family owned business and our current Asia-Pacific clients include: Geely, BMW, Daimler, BASF, Beiersdorf, C-Trip, Siemens, Neusoft.

On the evening of May 30th, Taicang Inclusion Factory was honored to become winner of the “More than a Market Awards” for outstanding efforts in social engagement. After being the winner in 2016, Inclusion Factory won this year again with their project “Inclusion Advisory”.

Inclusion Factory has been engaged in facilitating the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities into society through vocational training and meaningful employment. In 2018, the company launched the Inclusion Advisory with the aim to provide professional support to enterprises that are seeking to employ people with intellectual disabilities in their operations.

Flex, one of the world top 500 electronics manufacturer, was the first to heed the call. In 2018, Flex decided to venture even further. After an intensive cooperation with the Taicang Inclusion Advisory, the two partners created Flex’s Mechanical Inclusive Factory; currently hiring 10 people with intellectual disabilities working in a production line. After having received “More than a Market Award”, the Inclusion Advisory hopes to further promote its model of inclusive employment into companies around China. We hope that even more people with intellectual disabilities could benefit from it and find a meaningful employment.

The Taicang Inclusion Factory would like to thank Taicang municipal government and the Taicang Economy Development Area Bureau for awarding our project with the 2017 social responsibility award! 

The inclusion Factory project could not have become a reality without the strong cooperation, outstanding support and innovative spirit of the Taicang Local government!

Taicang is known for setting the standards for High-quality manufacturing and solid cooperation with foreign enterprises; Now, Taicang is also known for its leading role in promoting social inclusion and the creation of equal opportunities for people with disabilities in our society!

Thank you!
And may we have an even more prosperous 2018, together!






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Thilo Koeppe on CSR in China and the Industry 3.5 concept


(Article published in German Chamber magazine GCTicker, issue Oct-Nov 2016, download PDF)


Industry 4.0 focuses on increasing efficiency, quality and flexibility, while adopting cyber connectivity. Where Industry 4.0 puts CPS (cyber-physical systems) in its focus, the Inclusion Factory’s Industry 3.5 concept focuses on human talents namely Talents with Disabilities (TwD). The aim is to provide challenged individuals with the training to produce demanding cable harnesses and assemble a variety of products using specially designed fixtures and machinery.

The Inclusion Factory is an innovative example of consolidated action; as part of the Taicang roundtable, more than 80 partners joined forces to establish the workshop, which is the first institution in China to offer a meaningful employment solution to individuals who are intellectually or physically challenged under real market conditions. The workshop is based on a model established in Germany by Lebenshilfe e.V. and focuses on becoming an integral part of the industrial value chain of companies operating in and around Taicang.

GC Ticker team met with Thilo Koeppe, chairman of the board of directors, Taicang Inclusion Factory to further discuss CSR in China and the Industry 3.5 concept.

What are the challenges and advantages of beginning CSR projects in China?

It’s hard to speak about this topic generally but I can tell you a little from our experience. The main challenge of starting a larger scale CSR project was certainly getting the local authorities intrigued by the concept and its potential impact. For us, the most important assets are the employees. Without the help of the local disabled federation we would not have been able to identify our Talents with Disabilities. Furthermore, we required governmental support to provide our employees with regular work permits and social insurance coverage. Consequently, the backing of the local authorities is key. Once those hurdles were successfully negotiated, the CSR engagement became highly rewarding due to amazing public interest helping us tremendously in increasing the number of supporting organizations. Read more