JUST after Premier Li Keqiang visited Chaihuo Maker Space in the city, Shenzhen held an exchange activity on open innovation in San Francisco yesterday and agreed with the Institute for the Future from the United States to set up an innovation lab in Shenzhen this year.
In addition to regular forums and seminars, the lab will act as a bridge between governments, companies, public organizations, designers and students of the two cities concerning research and information sharing.
The activity invited many entrepreneurs including Zachary Crockett, founder of Spark, Mark Hatch, CEO and co-founder of TechShop, Peter Hirshberg, founder and CEO of Technorati, and Charles Angell, president of the Industrial Designers Society of America.
“In Huaqiangbei, makers can find anything they want in a range of 1 kilometer. No matter how complicated their design is, they can make a prototype, a product and produce it at a small scale in less than a week in this city,” said Crockett, who once incubated a smart lighting device in Shenzhen.
“Shenzhen boasts a good traditional manufacturing foundation and has passed through its period of copycatting products. Now the city has gathered a large group of makers who are enthusiastic about hardware,” said Leslie Liao, co-founder of Shenzhen-based Seeed Studio.
Hirshberg said knock-offs and copies are not a bad thing. “It is those companies that can help Chinese makers turn their prototypes into mass production. Coupled with the city’s complete industrial chain, they have a lot of business opportunities here,” he said.
Arnold Wasserman, chairman of Collective Invention, spoke highly of Huaqiangbei.
“It is the Hollywood of international makers,” Wasserman said. “Makers go to Huaqiangbei just like women go to Fifth Avenue in New York.”