Shanghai, China’s largest seaport, is also the country’s most cosmopolitan city, and the centre of its largest industrial region. Xin Chejian, or ‘new workshop’, embodies the cosmopolitan dynamism of Shanghai.
Xin Chejian is a makerspace, and it sure looks like one.
A model plane hangs from the ceiling, bizarre plastic and glass vats hold plants by one of the windows, with UV lighting and water gurgling. Projects developed here vary from insect robots to low-cost computing options via sewing machines and toy cars. Xin Chejian offers Shanghai makers a space to explore their technical creativity, tools to test out their ideas – an oscilloscope, a 3D printer – and even spare parts and components in bulk.
This superhero space started as the joint brain-child of one Taiwanese and two Canadian-Chinese entrepreneurs, looking to develop the maker culture in Shanghai. From a high-end coworking space, the space morphed into its current shape; a large community of makers with a low entry point – 100 yuan a month.
Xin Chejian is located on a shared floor, at the corner of Anfu Lu and Wulumuqi lu, next to Transi.st, a social enterprise angel investment group, and a creative design agency. The group runs weekly events on Wednesdays, introducing new members and projects – with equal numbers of English and Mandarin speakers.
Not only does Xin Chejian offer a space to build stuff, but the place also engages with the wider community. Particularly, they run workshops for kids, teaching them to make their own toys – cute Arduino insect robots – training the new generation of creative Chinese engineers.
This post was written by one of our China superhero correspondents, Julien Leyre, who runs the translation platform The Marco Polo Project. Read his report on South China’s biggest coworking space Yi-Gather here. Check back for more Chinese superhero spaces here soon.