A dearth in enrolments has left the sprawling campus of Polytechnic University's newly established International College for Innovative Training (ICIT) in Zhuhai largely vacant. The college, near the New Economic Resource Development Harbour, is a joint venture with Harbin Institute of Technology, and is the first to offer associate and pre-associate degree programmes on the mainland. It was officially opened in October, when programmes had also been meant to begin. The Harbin Institute was responsible for the construction cost of $300 million yuan (HK$283 million). The 18,000-square-metre college is equipped with track and field, swimming pool and five-storey teaching block with a capacity for 3,000 students. It currently has only 500, however, 350 of whom enrolled in the extension campus of the Harbin Institute, based in northeastern China. Most courses offered by the ICIT are short-term professional training programmes for mainland company employees. The head of PolyU's Partnership Development Office, Andrew Young, said associate degree courses were still a new concept in China. He also blamed the poor response on bad timing. 'By the time we marketed the courses, school graduates had already accepted offers from other institutions,' Mr Young said. Marketing efforts had also been affected by a delay in the project's completion, he added. Mr Young was optimistic about future enrolment, citing plans for another round of promotional activities at education fairs in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. 'Our AD programmes provide an alternative path for students who want to pursue studies abroad and yet cannot afford the costs,' he said. PolyU has agreements with universities in Australia, Canada and Britain to offer places for its AD programme graduates. Its college in Zhuhai also accepts final-year business students in the AD programmes in PolyU's School of Professional Education and Executive Development, providing them with an alternative to the Hong Kong campus. With China's recent entry into the World Trade Organisation, other tertiary institutions are responding to its rising demand for further education. The Chinese University's School of Continuing Studies is planning to offer English and business management courses in Beijing and Shenzhen. Director of the school Lee Sze-kuen said it was negotiating with Renmin University, and projected that the English programmes would likely be offered on-line. 'We will offer courses with strong market demand and collaborate with mainland partners,' said. Teachers from key mainland universities might be recruited for future courses.