The Maker movement, an umbrella term for the increasing number of individuals employing do-it-yourself (DIY) and do-it-with-others (DIWO) techniques and processes to develop unique technology products, is gaining popularity in developed and developing economies around the world. Meanwhile, China is seeking new ways to sustain its economy through new industrial strategies such as ‘Internet +’, ‘Made in China 2025’ and ‘Mass innovation and entrepreneurship’.
With its long held reputation as an innovative city for manufacturing and design, Shenzhen is being seen as a hub of Maker culture. Shenzhen International Maker Week provides a platform for global Makers and creators to take advantage of Shenzhen’s manufacturing and design facilities, and provides them with business start-up support. Devised by Shenzhen’s Science and Technology Innovation Committee as part of Shenzhen’s Cultural Innovation Development Plan 2020, Maker Week showcases the latest local innovations in science and technology. It also emphasises an open and collaborative ethos, encouraging Makers to engage in civic matters and community-building.
The first Shenzhen Maker Week was launched in 2015. 2017’s event was attended by over 500,000 participants and visitors from 35 countries and regions. Nearly 50 activities were held across the city under the theme ‘Make with Shenzhen’, with an international Maker exhibition area showcasing nearly 40 outstanding Maker projects from overseas. Activities in the main venue included drone performances, robot combat and Alternative/Virtual Reality experiences. Family-friendly activities, as well as competitions and workshops for students, were held to attract young people. Meanwhile, Slush Up, a Maker carnival in Futian District, provided a platform for global Makers to discuss trending topics in the maker community.
According to the City government, 500 million yuan (US $74 million) of funding has been earmarked for local Makers each year, while many Maker centres in the city receive subsidies from the government to improve the services available for Makers.