Tony Bacigalupo from New Work City blogs about his visit to XinCheJian during his pan-Asian coworking space tour:
Shanghai is a rich, beautiful, well-manicured city. My hotel was right in the middle of a touristy shopping district which exemplified Shanghai’s polish.
Xinchejian, Shanghai’s hackerspace, was nowhere near this part of town. Appropriately, Xinchejian is in a far more “real” part of town, away from the rich expats and the manicured shopping experiences.
That also meant narrow roads not designed for two way traffic, a hard-to-find location hidden away in an ancient warehouse, and a parking situation that required negotiation with locals. In other words, not too dissimliar from the usual neighborhoods one might find a hackerspace nested away in.
I walked into Xinchejian and might as well have walked into NYC Resistor. Gadgets and witty signage everywhere. A Makerbot in the house. Some kind of agriculture project involving running water between two potted plants through a fish tank. And don’t miss the freelance beehive in the slide show.
Founder Ricky was an engineer at Google and is working on some awesome projects while running the space, which is naturally a very loose and community-driven operation. What appeared to be an emergency glass box on the wall was actually a donation box into which people put money for just about anything.
I felt right at home here. I sat on a couch made of spare bamboo with Ricky as he talked with Liu Yan, owner of Xindanwei described below, as they discussed business and local things.