This is a very interesting report by the hacker Andrew ‘Bunnie’ Huang, who is very well known in Linux and Open Source circles on the booming city of Shenzhen in China. It forms part of Wired’s Future Cities series.
Andrew gives a very good guide to the city and what is happening there, especially on the innovation that is happening, and the technological progress being made in an essential free market area.
Many Europeans especially are working there because they have the ability to prototype their new gadgets in less than 1/4 the time it would take them in Europe, which is bogged down by rules, thereby getting to market early, and cutting costs along the way.
The city first became famous for its Shanzhai products, cheap copies of brand products like iPhones, produced for 1/8th of the price Apple sells for. But the same skills that were used in this market eventually flourished into the Maker scene and into Open Source hardware, which are innovative designs and solutions which are leading the way right now.
Andrew looks at the way all this developed over the past 20 years, and interviews some of the people involved in its evolution and current development. It really is an exciting scene, and shows what can be done when people are allowed to try things out on a large scale.
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