[This post is written by our guest writer David Li, and co-published on his very interesting project XinCheJian]

Today we at Xinchejian kicked off the first of the “Xinshanzhai” series of talks and discussion on how “Shanzhai” micro manufacture efficiency combined with open innovation process and open source hardware will change how China innovate. We had the honor to have Eric Pan, CEO and Founder of Seeed Studio to give the talk “Facilitate Open Innovation – The Seeed Studio Approach” [Speech Slides].

Seeed Studio was founded 3 years ago in Shenzhen to explore combining open source hardware and the electronics supply chain in Shenzhen. Today, Seeed Studio employes over 30 engineers and support staffs with over USD$1 million in annual revenue mainly from US, Europe and Japanese customers which are 98% of its business. Seeed does not yet focus on Chinese market as Eric points out that the tinkers/makers community in China has not yet matured enough for Seeed and there is not enough community.

Seeed Studio has so far depends on words of mouth of open hardware community for its marketing and will launch its first marketing campaign in 2011. The following is one of the first ads to be run in Make Magazine.

Seeed’s current focus is to grow its WISH platform described by Eric as a ecosystem to support open source hardware designers to better manage the product life cycle. WISH platform let designers and users propose requests and new design and through the community voting and pre-ordering process to help to bring products to the market. The process is best illustrated by this slide from the speech. Seeed also works with partners sites such as Dangerous Prototypes to promote the platform.

Eric’s 30 minutes talk was followed by over 2 hours of heated discussion on the topics of open source hardware, innovation and manufacture. The talk and discussions were livecast on Sina Weibo by Steven Cheng under #新山寨#.