When it comes to manufacturing, no place in the world has the same kind of allure as the Pearl River Delta region of China. Within just an hour-long train ride, two vastly different cultures co-exist, each with its unique appeal that keeps attracting engineers, entrepreneurs, and hustlers alike. On the mainland side, cities like Shenzhen and Guangzhou bring the promise of cheap components, low-cost contract work, and the street cred of “having done the Shenzhen thing.” And on the island, the capitalist utopia called Hong Kong glows with all of its high finance and stories of lavish expat lifestyles.
As the “new” China evolves, it seems like it’s exactly the convergence of these two cultures that will bring the biggest change—and not just to the area but to the whole world. Still, understanding what exactly is going on and what the place is really all about remains a mystery to many. So, this June, we jumped on the bandwagon and headed east, trying to get our own feel for the whole thing.
Here’s what we came back with…
We’d like to give a huge thanks to all the amazing people who donated their time and helped in filming this mini-documentary: Chris “Akiba” Wang, a Hackaday Prize judge and one of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet; Stefania Druga of Hackidemia and the organizer of Shenzhen MakerCamp; Massimo Banzi of Arduino.cc; Andy Kong and Michael Guillemette of Hong Kong’s Dim Sum Labs hackerspace; the Seed Studio crew; and a number of other people who have helped us with their insights and opinions on what it’s like to live at the doorsteps of the Factory of the World.