start up company in Shnaghai

Hello all

we just started a small design/engineering company in Shanghai.
I will post some experiences we gained with Chinese manufacturers/designers etc. in the future on this board.

As I know there are many design-agencies in Shanghai, a lot serving the domestic market, a few international clients. And as far as I know just 2-3 that also deliver (strategical) design management services.

There are many talented Chinese designers here, they are good at sketching, cad etc. Innovative thinking skills and design process skills are less compared to Europe but they are heading up. Now Lasalle is setting up a course for Industrial design here.

China is the walhalla, it’s true. Easy, a lot of choise and 24 hours production.
Untill now I have a lot expereince with chinese manufacturers and sometimes the co-operation is perfect, sometimes not. One thing is true-this is the disappointing case- as we want to produce some own designed furniture, it is hard to find a supplier who makes some small quantity samples and is willing to work with you in the first stage of sampling/production start or even before this stage, to think together how to produce your ideas. This manufacturer did like to start with a minimum order of 5000 pieces!! So some manufacturers become too greedy-maybe because of the booming industry- others are willing to co-operate in the first stage. A very good experience we have gained here is CNC-prototyping, dirt cheap but high quality.

to be continued…

Very good insights. Myself live in Chicago but is from Shanghai. Design consultancy is a tough business in China. I’ve recently read an interview with the design director from S.Point Design, which is one of the oldest and most well known design consultancy in China. The company has not made a profit from the mainland clients since their transition to a design consultancy 5 or 6 years ago, which tells you how difficult it is. On the other hand, I’m very interested in the problems and take-aways that you’ve gained through your business, please share them on this board and I’m sure they will be very well appreciated.

hI ,

Yes S-point is familiair with me, they have quite a fancy office. Aswell as for them as for us focusing on foreign customers.

But there are many other design companies that are here and have chinese customers. eg NOVA design is quite large, originally taiwanese.

br ,


Congrats on your startup. And your information is great.

Hi , Because we are foreign western run studio, our main focus is also Europe, Australia. Australia is a nice market cause they are (almost) in the same time-zone. (Proudly we can announce we receive our first assignment from a Australian based customer!)

Now our second step is to look for an affordable small office in this grazy Town. Our search will focus in de creative district of Jingan…

As for S-point i know they hired 4-5 foreigners to attract western customers, so thats a good tactic.

With regarding to design-management i know there is a small agency in Shanghai called CBI runned by Cathy Huang. But only consultancy, no hard design.

best regards to be continued!


really inspired by your info,THX :smiley: