Hey, Home Depot: Just Because You Failed In China Doesn’t Mean China Doesn’t DIY
Home Depot is closing its last seven big-box stores in China, citing a lack of a DIY ethos among the Chinese. But while sales may be flat, China's maker culture still thrives. Have YOU ever built yourself a helicopter?
Sun Jifa, of Guanmashan, Jilin province, in northern China, lost his hands in a fishing-related explosion a decade ago. The hospital recommended him prosthetic replacements that were far too expensive. Undeterred, Sun built his own bionic arms that can actually grip and squeeze objects via a system of pulleys and wires manipulated by movements of his elbows. CEN via HuffPo
Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that Home Depot is closing its last seven big-box stores in China after suffering years of losses there. The reason, according to Home Depot: China doesn’t nurture a do-it-yourself ethos or the market to support DIY-based businesses. We beg to differ.
Click to launch the photo gallery
No doubt Home Depot knows its business and the financial argument for closing its stores is right there on the balance sheet. And we’re not disputing that cheap labor and the predominance of apartment living create problem for a company whose bread and butter are things like paint, lumber, and fastener sales. China’s homeowners are generally happy to pay someone else to do it for them rather than to buy tools and hardware and do it themselves. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a robust maker culture there that is hacking and building just for kicks.
From self-made helicopters to submarines constructed from metal barrels to DIY prosthetic limbs, Chinese makers lack neither ingenuity nor ambition. They’re real, and if you don’t believe us just click through the gallery link above.