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Shanghai in pictures: entrepreneur David Li on the city as hackerspace

Posted by: Alex Gallafent

David Li has lived in Shanghai since 2003, when the Taiwan-born consultant and entrepreneur moved to the city to take advantage of a place in which he felt like “everything was possible.” A decade later, he’s still relishing all that the city has to offer, from vast cultural spaces to XinCheJian, the small community hackerspace he runs in the city’s French Concession. Here, he takes us on a tour of some of his favorite spots in the city, photographed by Lawrence Wang.

Along the east side of the Huangpo River, across the water from historic Shanghai, is Pudong, a business district famed (and often reviled) for its efflorescence of gaudy skyscrapers. In the early years of the millennium, when David Li moved to Shanghai, "everything was changing, everything was moving." Photograph: Lawrence Wang.

Along the east side of the Huangpo River, across the water from historic Shanghai, is Pudong, a business district famed (and often reviled) for its efflorescence of gaudy skyscrapers. In the early years of the millennium, when David Li moved to Shanghai, “everything was changing, everything was moving.” See Pudong on a map.

Read the full article about David Li and his life and work in Shanghai »

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Founded in 2010, XinCheJian is a home to Shanghai’s nascent hacking and programming community. 150 people visit every week, David Li says, taking advantage of lab space, tools and various workshops. Li says it’s more about recreation than business: “It’s an escape from a city where every meeting is about how to make money.” XinCheJian, 1035 Changle Road, Jing’an, Shanghai. See XinCheJian on a map.

Read the full article about David Li and his life and work in Shanghai »

For connoisseurs of urban biking, Shanghai's Brompton Junction is a mark of China's sophistication and modernity. The made-in-England folding bike maker has launched appropriately snug showcase stores in Amsterdam, Kobe, and Hamburg. It chose Shanghai for its first foray overseas in China. Photograph: Lawrence Wang.

For connoisseurs of urban biking, Shanghai’s Brompton Junction store is a mark of China’s sophistication and modernity. The made-in-England folding bike maker has launched appropriately snug showcase stores in Amsterdam, Kobe and Hamburg. It chose Shanghai for its first foray into China. Brompton Junction, 634 Fuxing Middle Road, Xuhui, Shanghai. See Brompton Junction on a map.

Read the full article about David Li and his life and work in Shanghai »

When it opened in 2005, the Museum of Contemporary Art was the first non-profit, independent art institution to operate in Shanghai. MOCA's glass cube building occupies a prime location in People's Park, and exhibits work from a variety of Chinese and international artists. On show through November 2013, an exhibition dedicated to Christian Dior that has attracted giant crowds. Photograph: Lawrence Wang.

When it opened in 2005, the Museum of Contemporary Art was the first non-profit, independent art institution to operate in Shanghai. MOCA’s glass cube building occupies a prime location in People’s Park, and exhibits work from a variety of Chinese and international artists. On show through November 2013, an exhibition dedicated to Christian Dior has attracted giant crowds. MOCA Shanghai, People’s Park, Huangpu, Shanghai. See MOCA on a map.

Read the full article about David Li and his life and work in Shanghai »

David Li works in Shanghai's French Concession, an enclave of international cuisine and culture, dotted with hideaway cafes and restaurants.

David Li works in Shanghai’s French Concession, an enclave of international cuisine and culture, dotted with hideaway cafes and restaurants. See the French Concession on a map.

Read the full article about David Li and his life and work in Shanghai »

The Xintiandi district "gives you a perspective on what [China] looks like today," says David Li. It's the first place he sends visitors when they come to town: first to the high-end boutiques and international ateliers arrayed about this reconstructed vision of historic Shanghai. Photograph: Lawrence Wang.

The Xintiandi district “gives you a perspective on what [China] looks like today,” says David Li. Filled with high-end boutiques and international ateliers arrayed around a reconstructed vision of historic Shanghai, it’s the first place he sends visitors when they come to town. See Xintiandi on a map.

Read the full article about David Li and his life and work in Shanghai »

Museum of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. Photograph: Lawrence Wang.

Li also likes to send visitors to the Museum of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, right next door to Xintiandi. The two Shanghai experiences, opposites in harmony, will give any visitor a good sense of the current Chinese moment. Museum of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, 374 Huangpi South Road, Shanghai. See the Museum on a map.

Read the full article about David Li and his life and work in Shanghai »

And here’s the fully annotated map of David Li’s Shanghai. Click the pins to get more details:

Alex Gallafent is a contributing correspondent for PRI’s The World and a former BBC radio producer. He’s also a freelance experience designer, currently with ESI Design, and a composer and sound designer for theater and film.

Shanghai-based Lawrence Wang is social media and digital director for AIG Road Safety. He’s also a photographer, having shot for MIT Tech Review, Forbes China and various Chinese newspapers. And he leads TEDtoChina, a volunteer group dedicated to bringing the learning experiences of TED to the internet community in China.  

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