China’s Communist Party government has reportedly endorsed the country’s burgeoning DIY Maker Movement.
“Innovation is no longer only promoted by the top-down initiatives of the world’s biggest companies,” reads a recent article in the state-run Liberation Daily newspaper.
“[Rather, it] is being built from the bottom up by countless individuals such as amateurs, entrepreneurs and professionals. As [Chris] Anderson says, we are born Makers… The future of China’s maker industry will be very competitive.”
Another state media article expresses similar sentiments, recommending that authorities “seize the current opportunity to introduce plans as soon as possible to support the development of the maker movement.”
As Emily Parker notes in Slate, both the United States and China are embracing the Maker Movement’s potential for entrepreneurship, viewing this kind of grass-roots innovation as essential for staying competitive in the 21st -century economy.
“The 2012 Shanghai Maker Carnival had the support of the Communist Youth League. Shanghai officials proposed 100 government-supported ‘innovation houses.’ Beijing’s Tsinghua University embraces Maker-inspired education,” she writes.
“Some hackerspaces in China get official support in the form of equipment, or help with paying the rent.”
Eric Pan, the Sichuan-born founder of Seeed Studio, explains why.
“Innovation can lead to start-ups. Start-ups can solve the problems of unemployment, and start-ups also have potential to become technology and design-intensive companies.”
Indeed, as Pan told Bits & Pieces earlier this year, MakerSpaces will likely enable a new wave of tech startups in China as in the US.
“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 crowd funding… For now, MakerSpaces are gradually helping Chinese tech companies discover additional possibilities, although the Maker role is likely to increase, with participants in the DIY culture setting technology trends in conjunction with major industries,” he adds.
The full text of Emily Parker’s “The Chinese Government Is Investing Heavily in the Maker Movement” is available on Slate here.