Tag Archives: China Maker Movement

Atmel heads to Shenzhen to talk Makers


Shenzhen has emerged on the Maker scene for its shortened development cycles, entrepreneurial spirit and DIY culture.


Sander Arts, Atmel VP of Corporate Marketing, continued his trip through China with a stop in Shenzhen on Wednesday, January 21, where he had the chance to explore the latest and greatest innovations coming out of the city, in particular those being created inside Seeed Studio — a hardware innovation platform designed to enable Makers to grow inspirations into differentiating products.

6f7f033492ef2c7a

There, Arts had the opportunity to sit down with the Seeed Studio team, including founder Eric Pan, to discuss the Maker Movement, open-souce hardware as well as Chinese DIY culture. Later on, the Atmel VP participated in a well-attended press event with a number of journalists, tinkerers and entrepreneurs to discuss Atmel’s place at the heart of the rapidly growing global movement, and of course, the Internet of Things.

Shenzhen_night_street

Recently, 35-year-old Shenzhen — which is located in the southern region of China — has emerged as quite the innovation hub, spurring Makers from all walks of life to delve deep into their imaginations and develop their ideas. Leveraging on its experience in manufacturing goods and access to parts, countless entrepreneurs, tinkerers and hobbyists have been drawn to the city.

“Shenzhen is a unique environment for passionate Makers with an entrepreneurial spirit,” Slate’s Silvia Lindtner explained.

B74JvQOCEAA79iD

The city’s capabilities have aided manufacturers in greatly shortening the production timeline from ‘Maker to market,’ which greatly enhances experimentation and provides a reliable, cost-effective solution for startups. In fact, the last few years have experienced an uptick in new companies coming to Shenzhen to finalize their concepts with notable examples including Pebble and Oculus Rift, Slate reveals. Additionally, hackerspaces and accelerators (like HAXLR8R and Highway1) have had an integral influence on innovators, another surefire sign that the Maker Movement has, indeed, arrived.

B74Ju-9CAAAiUrX

“Makerspaces will likely enable a new wave of tech startups in China as in the U.S. To be sure, Makers working with their peers are now able to more easily realize their goals, while bringing products to market with new platforms such as e-commerce sites and crowdfunding. 

Nevertheless, major companies in China are somewhat cautious about encouraging grass-root innovations, even though some of them are actively involved in a collaborative dialogue with Makers as part of a strategic open innovation strategy,” Eric Pan, founder of Seeed Studio, told in a recent interview.

B74JvErCIAAWtye

Developed in 2008, Seeed Studio is a convergence of manufacturing and a true embodiment of the so-called Maker culture. The company designs and produces its own open hardware kits, platforms and custom PCBs, while serving as a distributor for a large number of brands like the Atmel based Arduino. Moreover, it has even played a pivotal role in establishing the hardware incubation project HAXLR8R as well as the very first Maker Faire in Shenzhen.

B74JvP6CAAAGLCA

Just last year, MAKE: Magazine‘s Dale Dougherty announced the inaugural full-scale Maker Faire in China, which successfully recognized the significance of the city as a global capital for DIYers. An estimated 30,000 people walked the tree-lined streets to partake in the event, while 300 Makers manned 120 exhibits.

“Maker Faire Shenzhen shined a light on the externalities and ecosystems of making itself: the political regimes which regulate; the infrastructures which support it; the forms of work that drive it; and the culture and history that shape it,” an earlier Guardian article noted.

maker-faire-shenzhen-03

“One thing is for certain. The inherent entrepreneurial spirit of the Chinese people will help the Maker culture grow – and vice versa. 

The biggest hurdle, from what I can tell, may very well come from established educational facilities, simply because Chinese students expect to be trained in traditional methods when specific professional skills are required. 

However, exposure to multiple academic disciplines will encourage people to people think out of the box and explore different ways of approaching problems and opportunities. In addition, being asked more open-ended practical questions instead of simply memorizing facts would go a long way in encouraging students to try out real-world solutions,” Pan says.

Atmel visits Beijing Makerspace… again


Beijing Makerspace is bringing tinkerers together to help make their IoT dreams a reality. 


Sander Arts, Atmel VP of Corporate Marketing, recently paid a special visit to the Beijing Makerspace on Tuesday, January 21, 2015.

Beijing Makers

There, not only did he explore the latest and greatest DIY creations, Arts participated in a well-attended press event with a number of journalists, tinkerers and entrepreneurs to discuss Atmel’s place at the heart of the rapidly growing global Maker Movement, and of course, the Internet of Things.

image-7

image-6

Located on the fourth floor of the International Digital Design Center in Zhongguancun, which has been dubbed China’s Silicon Valley, Beijing Makerspace is a community that gathers China’s Makers. The approximately 10,700-square-foot facility converges several open-source pieces of hardware such as the highly-popular AVR MCU, electronic platforms like Arduino and high-tech devices including 3D printers and robots — all the tools necessary to create next-gen IoT projects.

beijingmakerspace1

As we learned last year, Beijing Makerspace’s co-founder Justin Wang Shenglin believes that the community workshop can perhaps best be defined as a social enterprise. The establishing of the DIY hub for Wang wasn’t like starting a normal business. In fact, he tells the Chinese newspaper Global Times that it was more about finding a place where people with a common interest could come play, make and collaborate together. These people come from all walks of life — ranging from IT engineers and programmers, to designers and artists, to students and academics — and shared a common bond: making cool things!

Sander - Wang

“Having a creative idea about something is far from creating it, since craft is involved in the latter,” Wang told the Global Times in a recent interview. “Many people may start with a splendid idea, but end up finding it too hard to make it into a reality.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Chinese government officials have also taken a keen interest in the Maker Movement in recent months due to its lucrative economic and educational potential.

Maker

“There is no other country that can perform better in craft and manufacturing than China,” explained Wang. “With an ever-growing market and firm support from the government, China is gaining its advantage in this new Industrial Revolution.”

China joins other nations, including the United States, in embracing the Maker Movement and its tremendous potential for entrepreneurship, by viewing this grassroots innovation as essential for staying competitive in our modern-day economic climate. As a May 2014 Slate article acknowledged, “The official rhetoric has a sense of urgency: China no longer wants to be seen as the ‘world’s factory,’ manufacturing goods that are designed elsewhere.”

Project

For instance, Shanghai’s municipal government has backed plans to build 100+ Makerspaces throughout the city, with each location is said to be equipped with a 3D printer and will host staff to help visitors with traditional crafts such as woodworking. Meanwhile, last year’s Maker Faire in Shenzhen attracted an estimated 30,000 people.

Wang adds, “China is a Maker’s paradise. All the materials they could want are here and extremely cheap.”