Supply chain draws international makers to SZ: hardware engineer

Writer: Wang Haolan  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2023-03-13

As outlined in the government work report, one of the primary targets for 2023 is to accelerate the modernization of China’s industrial system by focusing on key industrial chains in the manufacturing sector and achieving breakthroughs in core technologies across key fields.

Masakazu Takasu delivers a speech at Monday's international innovation policy and practice conference in Wuzhou Guest House, Futian District. Photos courtesy of the organizer except otherwise stated

Masakazu Takasu, a world-renowned Japanese hardware engineer and maker, is driven by a shared ambition. Lured by Shenzhen’s hardware supply chain and innovation ecosystem, Takasu, who is also an associate researcher from Japan’s Waseda University, relocated to Shenzhen in 2018 to help Switch Science, a Japan-based open-source hardware development company, tap into the local market and collaborate with local startup and maker communities. Through his work, he aims to promote Shenzhen to the world as a “city that make makers’ dream come true.”

“Shenzhen is a hub for the global hardware manufacturing industry,” Takasu said during an interview with Shenzhen Daily on the sidelines of an international innovation policy and practice exchange conference last week. “Shenzhen’s supply chain is very flexible, making products cheaper and ideas realized faster — especially for small companies and individual entrepreneurs with creative minds.”

Takasu stated in his speech at the conference that Shenzhen has managed to grow from a traditional hardware manufacturing hub to an innovative city that is able to produce original products at low prices.

A chess robot on display at last year's China Hi-Tech Fair. Liu Xudong

“Thanks to the local supply chain, ordinary people like me can also have easy access to the achievements of the latest technologies,” he said, citing one of his own innovative practices in Shenzhen as an example.

“I found a company in Huaqiangbei to disassemble a pair of earphones and got the chips at a very low price,” Takasu recalled. “By using these chips, I was able to produce independently developed 4-volt motors, which in turn could be used to produce robotic arms. The chip trigger innovations in the motor, and the motor triggers innovations in the robotic arm.”

Takasu attends Monday's conference. Courtesy of the organizer

Takasu, who is also an active advocate for maker culture, has dedicated himself to introducing Shenzhen’s supply and industrial chain as well as its innovative ecosystem to the world. In addition to conducting research and giving lectures on the city’s innovations at Waseda University, he also published a book in Japanese in August 2020, elaborating on Shenzhen’s innovative practices and the local development potential for newly emerging advanced hardware manufacturing industries.

Takasu also looks forward to participating in more local Maker Faires in the future. “Many hardware innovators come to Shenzhen from across the world for the Maker Faires,” he said. “They communicate with each other and make products together at the fairs, while the Maker Faires support them in turning their ideas into existence.”