Case for opening sales in China

Preface: I’m not including anything political regarding the government in this post, and please keep the comment section like that too! The government does not represent all the people, so please keep any bias you may hold against the government from influencing your opinion on this post!

Just a general case for opening Framework sales in China I suppose!


  1. China is big. Very big, even when removing the portion of the population that doesn’t need/can’t afford a laptop, it’s market is undoubtedly bigger than any other country (with the possible exception of the US, which I doubt). What does this mean? Sales.

  2. Culture. While I can’t be certain, it seems likely that Framework will succeed in China simply due to the culture prevalent there. Compared to America, where computer literacy is worryingly low, China’s general population’s interest in Computer’s is far higher, at least within my view. Each city has giant electronic quarters filled to the brim with mom and pop shops selling all sorts of ICs, countless repair stores offering replacements to complicated components such as motherboards, screens, and connectors in minutes, and most of all a constant buzzing crowd that supports this culture. This computer literacy is likely to make Framework a popular option as it brings consumers closer to the hardware, as opposed to the industry trend of removing the user from all complexity in a system.

  3. Shanzhai. I’m sure one of everyone’s aspirations here (including the Framework team’s) has been to see stronger third party support for various components. Imagine replacement boards with ARM SOCs, or RISC-V, Expansion Cards selling on Taobao with rare ports that some people just need but Framework will never be able to supply due to low demand. Why (do I think) a third party marketplace hasn’t appeared yet despite the obvious demand? Because of a relatively low rate of DIY innovation in the West (which to be clear has been Framework’s main market so far), and that West, being the West that has been suppressed by countless years through corporate greed in the form of Patents and lowering computer literacy. It will take a long long time before a strong third party marketplace can grow in the West due to so so many complexities in setting up supply chains, manufacturing, sourcing talent.
    In China, these complications are basically negligible, new businesses run entirely new factory lines just to serve the smallest segment, and they’re not afraid of suffocating IP, they’re undeniably part of the feeling of Open Source invention.
    This culture is commonly referred to as “Shanzhai” [1] (or 山寨 in Chinese), and is an amazing phenomenom that has given birth to some absolutely amazing inventions in the spirit of open source. Some I have seen are completely modern mainboards with 11th gen chipsets for enthusiast laptops such as the Thinkpad X200, pop in custom manufactured screens for the also the x200 (as I used to research that market quite a bit), or tons of BGA resoldered boards for things as simple as memory expansion. Imagine what these people could do with Framework if it were released in China.

In summary, China serves as an unopened giant potential market for Framework to grow at a pace that it has never met before, something I’m sure everyone here wants. Of course I completely understand if this is infeasible, and I would love to hear reasons why this is infeasible, as well as maybe more positive benefits in the comment section! This post is simply detailing the most broad benefits of opening in Mainland China!

Best wishes to you all!

[1] Shanzhai is a really interesting culture, and I reccomend anyone who’s interested in learning more to read “The Hardware Hacker” by Andrew Huang, absolutely amazing book.

Huh, so kinda coming in before anyone else here, however embarrasing that is.
But some might be worried about Framework losing business, valid.
Here’s my take on why that doesn’t matter:
Framework will always be the one selling the base laptop, or the form factor, it is unlikely that much of the audience in the west will buy from a Chinese third market. This retains Framework’s business validity while greatly enhancing the incentive, as the platform will continue to be supported even if Framework were to die.

In the case that Framework does die, because a Chinese third market creates cheaper alternatives to every single part of the latpop, such as the Chassis, and everything else, while retaining the same form factor and all of Framework’s audience decides to instead buy from said suppliers. Then, loathe as am I to say it, Framework’s mission of repairable hardware will be continued postmartum, and the metaphorical torch will be metaphorically passed down, and hopefully amplified by a cheaper and more competitive market instead of the current benevolent monopoly that Framework holds.

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Unfortunately, Framework has not yet officially launched in China. They kindly ask for your patience while they continue to expand their global footprint.

Because of how complicated the process is, and how easy it is for things to go wrong, they don’t typically announce anything until it’s locked in, so there is no ETA for you at this time. If you want to make sure they’re aware of the demand, select China in the region selector on their website, as that registers your interest and helps them prioritize where to expand next.

It is important to note that Framework does not support freight forwarding, and any orders that utilize freight forwarding or holding company addresses or have false billing information are subject to cancellation upon audit. Please keep in mind that any discussion of getting around these restrictions would not be permitted.

We all wish that Framework could be everywhere globally, but that is not possible at this time for a number of reasons which have been explained in previous posts. If and when Framework does expand to China in the future, I hope you’ll consider a purchase at that time.

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