Published on Newsbeat (October 26, 2015)
By Tanya McGovern
Inventor establishes MakerBay – Hong Kong’s first ‘maker space’ with 3D-printing and laser cutting machinery – with plans to rent it out to students, hobbyists and start-up companies.
In Hong Kong’s space tight environment, a new company aims to provide individuals and businesses with the space and tools needed to work on creative projects through its rentable workshops.
The company is based on the recent ‘maker culture’ movement, a technology based extension of traditional DIY hobbies such as wood and metal working.
Maker culture includes 3D printing, laser cutting, robotics, textiles and electronics.
MakerBay was founded by French-Japanese inventor Cesar Harada in April.
It is located in a recently refurbished 6,500 sq ft factory in Yau Tong.
Mr Harada said he hopes to upgrade Hong Kong’s industrial past to an industry with a focus on innovation and sustainability.
Over the past few decades, the city has developed from one based around goods manufacturing to a global financial hub, with factories moving to mainland cities such as Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
“[Recently] most of the industry [in Hong Kong] have been desk bound,” Mr Harada said.
“We are not inventing so much something new as in so much that we are upgrading an industrial structure that’s started to become obsolete.
“We can learn from the old, traditional craft, the industrial capacity, and connect it with the new hardware value, more high tech version of what Hong Kong could be,” Mr Harada said.
The SAR’s strategic position, free market, logistics system and close access to manufacturing cities on the mainland make it an attractive base for tech start-ups, according to Mr Harada.
Fiona Ching, MakerBay general manager, said the space has attracted interest from university students seeking a place to practise their skills.
“I think younger generations are not satisfied by working in a big corporation.
“They [young people] are really looking for more innovative jobs,” Ms Ching said.
With government industry support initiatives such as StartmeupHK, the number of new technology companies opening in Hong Kong will only increase in the coming years, Ching said.
The company will celebrate its official opening next month.
This story was produced for Newsbeat, a weekly newspaper by students of the JOUR3005 Beat Reporting course at Hong Kong Baptist University.