Professions 21 March 2016 67 2127
Anna works in the Russian Department of China Radio International in Beijing. She’s been dreaming of hosting her own show and now she has the chance to make her dream come true. After receiving an editorial assignment to prepare a programme about China’s 'makers', Anna goes on a journey across the country to find out who they are.
Inventors, engineers, visionaries and creators – Chinese 'makers' have existed for as long as China itself. They are the people behind the country’s technological progress and their innovations have an impact on the whole world.
Visiting creative centres in the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Dalian, Anna learns about amazing inventions by Chinese 'makers' that give us a glimpse into what the future of technology may look like. Marrying familiar objects with new know-how to improve and revolutionise work processes, they often take inspiration from their own hobbies and interests. This approach allows them to combine business and pleasure, and to treat their work as an enjoyable pastime.
For the same reasons, the greatest payoff for Chinese 'makers' is often not money or fame but the realisation that people use their inventions and benefit from their work.
There are different kinds of Chinese 'makers': some take traditional, often handmade, objects and turn them into more modern, technologically-enhanced, versions of themselves; others use their creative skills in computer-related fields, making new apps and useful software to improve productivity in different specialist areas. Finally, there are children whose parents are engineers and who grew up in a creative atmosphere, making them naturally prone to innovation.
All these 'makers' like to organise creative communities to share their ideas and hold workshops. Working as a Chinese 'maker' is an ever-evolving process, meaning they must stay open-minded and in touch with the latest technological developments to achieve new heights.