If you were waiting for a sign that China has changed and is an amazing huge thing adapting to the new industrial revolution, there you go.

 

Shenzhen - Shenzhen Maker Faire logo and design 2014 innovation is everywhere martin pasquier eric pan cyril ebersweiler benjamin joffe haxlr8r

Take what was a fishing village 30 years ago, with 200-300 000 inhabitants. Create a special economic zone to attract migrants from all over the country. Make it the biggest factory-city in the world. Wait a few years. When you feel the internet wave hitting the hardware and manufacturing industry, turn it into a capital city for prototypers and makers of all sorts. Add new innovative stuff, from open-innovation into life sciences to think tanks.

Shenzhen, from the fishing village to the hardware startup capital

Well, that’s quite a series of shortcuts but you get the bigger picture: Shenzhen, China, is increasingly recognized as the city in the world where creating hardware and real stuff is not only possible, but cheaper and better than anywhere else.

If you remember our previous episodes, I was bound to visit Shenzhen back in February. Alas, being French with no visa did get me to the border with Hong Kong, but no further. I remember being frustrated, having organized meetings with the teams from Seeed Studio and Haxlr8r. I still have its founder Cyril Ebersweiler’s lines “ah, a classic!”.

I see it as a sign: the best possible moment to come to Shenzhen was not a week after the Chinese New Year in February, but rather early April for its now reputed Shenzhen Maker Faire, a gathering of makers and thinkers and speakers. Missing the first step even allowed me to get there – visa done well in advance – with my girlfriend, for a very geek long week-end.

Visiting the gigantism of Shenzhen with local tech facilitators Seeed Studio and HAXLR8R

It’s hard to summarize all which happens in Shenzhen, and I do hope this report helps you get an overview of a place which makes little sense at first for a Cartesian French mind, not used to the gigantism of China.

 

Shenzhen - Makers can draw too!

 

Do follow us on yet another amazing city of our world trip, enjoy the reading, and as usual, sharing and commenting makes us happy and gives us more will to continue this project.

We’re super late publishing this report, and more articles will come in the next few days as we catch up with a lot of things and need time to keep things growing (and grow they do, so you’ll get more of this all next year).

Until then, you can find back our BRICS startups series herewith amazing stories from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa