Shenzhen, The City of the Future

Posted By on June 23, 2016

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In ‘Shenzhen, The City of the Future’ I wanted to share this series of videos from WIRED on this new fascinating world of Shenzhen, and its burgeoning technology economy.

Shenzhen was a market town of 30,000 people on the route of the Kowloon–Canton Railway. That changed in 1979 when Shenzhen was promoted to city-status and in 1980 designated China’s firstSpecial Economic Zone (SEZ).[5] According to the Government report for 2015, Shenzhen had transformed to a city with population of 10,778,900[6] and a metropolitan area population of over 18 million. Shenzhen was one of the fastest-growing cities in the world during the 1990s and the 2000s.[7] Shenzhen’s population boom slowed down to less than one percent per year by 2013 as the manufacturing boom ebbed in favor of other industries.[8]

Shenzhen’s modern cityscape is the result of its vibrant economy made possible by rapid foreign investment since the institution of the policy of “reform and opening” establishment of the SEZ in late 1979. Significant sums of finance have been invested into the SEZ by both Chinese citizens and foreign nationals. More than US$30 billion in foreign investment has gone into both foreign-owned and joint ventures, at first mainly in manufacturing but more recently in the service industries as well. (description taken from Wikipedia).

The Silicon Valley of Hardware (Part 1)

In this first episode we take a glimpse into Huaqiangbei, the city’s vast market district, and talk Moore’s Law and its impact on software vs hardware development before visiting HAX, the only hardware accelerator of its kind in the world. We also begin to explore the origins of this unique and vibrant city, and how it continues to be shaped.

The Maker Movement (Part 2) 

In this second episode we take a look at how the Maker movement has been appropriated in a frenetic manufacturing hub like Shenzhen, before exploring how the city’s attitudes to open source hardware are so different to those of the West, and what this might mean for both sides of the argument in the near future.

A new breed of intellectual property (Part 3)

In particular, we look at how the evolution of “shanzhai” – or copycat manufacturing – has created an ecosystem that could transform traditional models of business, distribution and innovation. Although, technically, any knock-off goods can be called shanzhai, the word’s meaning has recently shifted to refer to electronic goods, and episode three delves behind the scenes of this business culture.

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Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.


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