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Maker Movement with Chinese Characteristics

The Maker Movement spread rapidly in the past ten years with thousands of makerspaces and Fab Labs established around the world. Maker events and conferences have attracted interests of hobbyists, creative professions, entrepreneurs, large corporations, governments, educators, and even the general public. The rhetoric of the movement was the empowerment of “everyone can be a maker” and that the democratisation of making would disrupt how things would be produced and consumed.

In the meantime, Shenzhen dubbed as the paradise for Makers has gained recognition on the international stage as the Silicon Valley of Hardware partly because of the global attention to the maker movement. The image of Shenzhen drastically changed from the global electronic sweatshops to the global centre of innovation within only a few short years.

The democratisation and empowerment narratives of making caused rushes of investments into hardware startups and attracted government funding with China's Prime Minister launching his Mass Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative in 2016 from Chaihuo makerspace in Shenzhen. Makers around the world congregate in Shenzhen attempting to realise their dreams and produce their projects. However, despite the enthusiasm of the movement, the newly built maker spaces and the industry needs to be supported by a healthy market. After the initial rushes, the goals and purposes are shifting from disrupting the way of productions to focus on making education to bring up a new generation of creative minds.