shenzhen as skateboard mecca: who knew?

pas moi, as we say.

The world is not only coming to Shenzhen for hardware hacks, but also apparently for the smooth surfaces. The skateboarders’  take on “freedom” as ability to use public space (especially the Shenzhen Civic Center) is particularly compelling; “They don’t have Youtube, no Facebook,” Anthony Claravall notes, “but you can skate anywhere.” Unlike New York, where apparently you can watch Youtube and buy Hustler, but can’t skate in front of the mayor’s house. And Chinese skateboarders are family men. Check out the video by Vice Video:

seaworld: reclaimed coastline

I walked the park area and new residential area behind the Nuwa statue in Seaworld. This entire area has been reclaimed. It is startling how the loss of physical landmarks makes it difficult to remember where I’ve been because this isn’t that place.

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gangxia: walking the remaining village

Walked through the remaining section of Gangxia and noticed the strong contrasts of a sunny day: bright and dark, sun and shadows smack in the middle of Shenzhen’s Central axis. Check it out:

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hax

sfsz: chimerica’s creative axis

Shenzhen is gearing up for the Maker Faire, and clearly there’s a bit more than hype in the mix. Seems all sorts of folks are interested in connecting to larger markets via “the Silicon Valley of hardware” — Shenzhen. Of note du jour: the Hax Accelerator Program:

How It Works: Selected teams relocate to our offices in Shenzhen, China for 111 days, where they’ll finalize prototypes and learn to scale their businesses with the help of our awesome full-time staff and extensive mentor network.

Each week, you’ll meet with advisors who will offer feedback on your team’s evolving strategy and prototypes, as well as provide valuable insight about how to scale a company in terms of manufacturing, supply chain management and distribution.

The final 2 weeks of the program will be spent refining your pitch, in preparation for our demo day showcase and launch event in San Francisco. Then it’s time to get some press, meet with investors, and (optionally) kick off a killer crowdfunding campaign!

houhai / xuefu rd

Today, I went to the Software Incubator Area and what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a landmark tried and true and watched for the past decade. It’s true and unexpected, but for years I have been documenting the land reclamation area east of Guimiao and north of Binhai (first impressions, here), and today on an errand to meet someone about the upcoming Maker Faire, I realized the road I was on–Xuefu Road–was in fact the road I had walked while documenting the emergence of New High Technology Park. Anyway, some before and after pictures:

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dining at mao’s homestyle restaurant

Mao’s style food is barbaric spicy Hunan food. At an eponymous restaurant (毛家菜), he and his red handkerchief occupy the entryway. There is a God of wealth in the corner. My interest in Mao’s godhead caused a bit of awkwardness with a friend, who is anti-superstition and often finds things anthropological condescending. She let me know in no uncertain terms, it would be inappropriate for me to use this image as a WeChat avatar. And then she softened the blow, “You like to use your art work. Keep doing that, everyone likes it.”

shen kong: the different faces of state capitalism

A recent article from the Epoch Times asserts that Shenzhen has surpassed Hong Kong in competitiveness because of the way Beijing has intervened in the economies of the two cities. Indeed, the establishment of the Qianhai Free Trade Zone speaks to the continued transfer of international economic functions from Hong Kong to Shenzhen through the deployment of “special” policies. This is, in fact, a solution to the one country-two systems policy that–for years–many foreign commentators ignored, when it was thought would Shenzhen become more like Hong Kong? Well, it has. And inquiring minds want to know: cui bono?

From the Epoch Times article: For the first time in a decade, Hong Kong no longer tops the list of competitive cities in China, and its due to the stifling hand of the Chinese regime, commentators note.

According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ recently released Blue Book on Urban Competitiveness—a survey of 294 China cities, Taiwan included—Hong Kong now ranks number two, falling behind its neighbor just across the border in mainland China, the metropolis Shenzhen.

The survey report claims Shenzhen topped Hong Kong, a bustling international financial hub and former British colony, because the mainland city better backed innovation—in 2014, Shenzhen government spent 4.05 percent of its gross domestic production supporting its innovation and technology sector compared to Hong Kong’s 0.73 percent.

The report also said Hong Kong’s standing was affected by last year’s student-led Occupy protests. From the end of September to mid December, hundreds of thousands of Hongkongers held three areas of the city to protest a restrictive Beijing diktat on political reform in Hong Kong (more).