Hong Kong art-craft community...any silver lining?
His name is James. 40+ years old, getting close to 50 I believe.
"I'm probably the only one left doing this" He said. "The rent here in Hong Kong is just ridiculous. 10 years ago I had a lot of competitors but now I don't see any; the sad thing is that even when I'm the last man standing, my cash flow is still not that great"
He makes a small fraction of our proprietary dials (we also source from UK and from US). 20+ years ago, he founded his company, where he bought parts from everywhere to make his very specialized laser cut machine that was designed by himself, from the ground up, to produce fine cut metal art. He's the major supplier of multiple art/craft companies in Hong Kong. Part of me wondered... what if he goes out of business? What would that do to the local companies that are not as fortunate as we are?
Hong Kong is not exactly a warm and comfy breeding ground for startups as of now. "It's like a dessert (now), but it may improve", James remarked. I can see why he said so; the rent here is high, and the startup and DIY communities are still young. Exit tracks are still not obvious, and the large corporations are not yet supportive of innovation in the format of startups.
But things are changing; the HK government is putting in a lot of funding, InvestHK, among many other organizations, is organizing activities to encourage entrepreneurship, and co-work spaces are blooming. Local found startups are starting to show up on the global scene. In fact, the first hardware meetup in Hong Kong just took place May of 2014 (http://www.startupshk.com/startware-hong-kong-meet-hardware-startups/)
I know that with the right support, the hardware and crafts DIY community, can stay strong, grow, and thrive. At DIY.watch, we will try our very best to contribute to this community.