Made with China: hackers, makers & manufacturers
China is often portrayed as an enormous factory that pumps out products invented elsewhere. But as global "maker culture" is transitioning from a hobby into a profession, China is playing a significant role in changes to industrial production and hardware innovation. It might surprise you; China’s image contrasts with contemporary maker culture, celebrated for its creativity and roots in 1960s U.S. counterculture. But China’s rapid growth in open source hardware and maker communities challenges our assumptions. They show an alternative version of innovation, built on a home-grown version of open source that has developed in China's small-scale factories over the last 20 years. Makers in China show that this history of open manufacturing will change not only what we understand by making, but also where we locate innovation. As China's DIY makers are coming together with manufacturers, they are spurring a shift in industrial production, from "made in China" to "made with China."
Additional Supporting Materials
- How has China's unusual approach to open-source innovation in manufacturing developed?
- How does China fit with the global growth of hackerspaces (from 500 two years ago to more than a thousand today)?
- What does open-source manufacturing look like in China?
- How are individuals partnering with manufacturing in the country?
- How might makers from elsewhere in the world gain from relationships with China's maker culture and small-scale manufacturing practices?
- Silvia Lindtner University of Michigan, University of California-Irvine and Fudan University, Shanghai
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