Flying car and other cool stuff at Taobao Maker Festival 2021 TechNode


On a sweltering overcast sky in Shanghai on Monday, thousands of hip Chinese youths arrive at an exhibition hall in the far west of the city. They are there to discover the Taobao Maker Festival.

Currently in its sixth year, the festival is hosted by e-commerce giant Alibaba. Every summer, the company turns Taobao, its popular online shopping platform, into a bustling real-life marketplace, inviting young tech entrepreneurs to showcase new prototypes and products. The e-commerce leader hopes to continue to capture the attention of young consumers.

The average age of the festival’s vendors is 30, with the youngest just 21, Chris Tung, Alibaba’s chief marketing officer, said at a press briefing on July 16. The event itself is not specifically focused on technology. The online retailer defines a manufacturer broadly as any entrepreneur who creates a new concept or product.

Tung called the Taobao Maker Festival a “window to Chinese youth”. “What it is today for young people is what it will be tomorrow for commerce,” he said.

The products and services presented at the festival cover almost everything: futuristic technological gadgets, unique Chinese-style crafts, new escape room concepts, plant-based meat, and more.

As always, we focused on the stories of tech-related manufacturers at the festival, hoping to get a glimpse of future trends.

Flying cars

As electric vehicles and autonomous driving become more familiar concepts to Chinese consumers, entrepreneurs are exploring the future of everyday transportation.

Xpeng Huitian’s Voyager X2 flying car prototype at the Taobao Maker Festival on July 19, 2021 (Image credit: Technode / Emma Lee)

Xpeng Huitian, an autonomous aviation unit of electric vehicle maker Xpeng Motors, showcased a recently revealed “flying car” prototype at the event. With eight propellers on four axes, the passenger drone could carry two adults. It has a maximum load of 200 kilograms (441 pounds). Voyager X2, the electric drone, can travel 35 minutes at a speed of between 80 and 100 km / h on a single charge. The flying car made its first crewed test flight in June.

“X2 supports autonomous capabilities and could be used for air patrols, search and rescue and medical transport,” Xpeng Huitian representative Zhang Yongjiu told TechNode.

Soco Xray electric vehicle at the Taobao Maker Festival on July 19, 2021 (Image credit: Technode / Emma Lee)

Still in the field of transport, Soco Xray is a triphibian electric vehicle that can move in the air, on land (including snow and ice) and on water. Super Soco, a Nanjing-based electric scooter company, developed the prototype of the vehicle.

The scooter maker sells its vehicles through Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms and more than 2,000 physical stores around the world. The company sells scooters in more than 73 countries.

A girl trying out the Exway skateboard at the Taobao Maker Festival on July 19, 2021 (Image credit: Technode / Emma Lee)

Shenzhen-based electric skateboard maker Exway offers skateboards that can travel 30 to 60 kilometers on a single charge. Charging may take up to two hours. More than 70% of the company’s products are sold in overseas markets, said a company employee.

Low in calories and low in fat

Chinese youth are embracing healthier and greener food trends. Since 2019, vegetable meat has been in fashion. This year, foods low in calories and fat are in the spotlight.

Boohee booth at the Taobao Maker Festival on July 19, 2021 (Image credit: Technode / Emma Lee)

Boohee, a Chinese health management app that claims to have over 120 million users, has introduced Crisp Meat, a healthy potato chip-like snack that’s high in protein and low in calories and fat.

Baoji Dujiaoshou Low Calorie Konjac Burger at the Taobao Maker Festival on July 16, 2021 (Image credit: Taobao)

Baoji Dujiaoshou, which means muscular unicorn, has launched a low-calorie burger with a transparent patty that is only 4.18 calories.

By Nice, a brand that produces low-sugar and low-fat desserts, launched broccoli and melon ice cream, which has fewer calories than a banana.

NFT real estate

Chinese artist Huang Heshan presented a virtual real estate art project in non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Huang partnered with NEAR protocol and blockchain game company Web3Games for the NFT project.

A young couple choosing a virtual “wedding apartment” (Image credit: screenshot from Ifeng’s video)

Called TooRich City, or Butu Garden in Chinese, the project includes more than 300 villas and high-end units. Butu means “not to go bald” in Chinese, expressing the artist’s hope that people will not lose their hair due to soaring property prices in China.

Huang created a fictional virtual character named Fulitu for the virtual real estate project. Fulitu is a bald, wealthy and undereducated real estate developer. But unlike some real Chinese developers, Fulitu cares about ordinary Chinese and develops housing for the poor.

READ MORE: CHINA VOICE | What China thinks about NFTs

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