China’s “Useless Edison” Takes Over the Internet

Matsuka Gaja, Staff Writer

From a toilet built into a scooter that flushes by pulling a lever on the handlebar to a sword that can be used to scrub backs, crazy inventions are Geng Shuai’s specialty. The thirty-one year old Chinese village craftsman, also known as China’s “Useless Edison,” is a former plumber, living in the northern province of Hebei, China. Shuai went viral on the internet with his useless and wacky yet funny and entertaining inventions. His fans are able to keep up with his inventions on Kuaishou, a Chinese short video app. Currently, Shuai has over 2.7 million followers on Kuaishou as well as nearly a million followers on Weibo, which is a website similar to Twitter.
Shuai has over eighty creations that he has presented to the public through live streaming and posting on social media. Some of these include a barbecue foosball table, a self defense sword tie, a Thor hammer purse, knife hair comb, and many more. Out of all these clever inventions, the meat cleaver smart phone case is one of the main creations that caught people’s attentions. Reuters reports that Shuai posted a video of himself taking out a smartphone and flipping the meat cleaver cover open, at which point he glares at the camera asking, “Can I have your number?” One of his fans, Zhou Bingke, who teaches welding and metal work at Tsinghua University of China, comments in an interview with Reuters, “Seeing Geng’s videos will lead [to] more people making things. Whether it’s works of art or other things for fun, the process of manufacturing is enjoyable.” Similar to Geng, many are inspired by Shuai’s works of originality.
As a sixteen year old high school dropout, Shuai spent years working jobs that were tedious compared to what he does now. Shuai started focusing on his inventions last year after quitting his job in Beijing. In the Reuters interview, he comments, “The jobs I used to have were extremely boring and uninspiring. It was more or less a case of doing the same thing every day.” With his new job, his income increased by upwards of three times. The majority of his earnings come from the sales of his products bought by followers as well as advertisements in his videos. One of his best selling products is the Thor hammer purse, which is 100 yuan, about fourteen dollars in U.S. dollars.
Sharing his opinion, Shuai states that his viewers enjoy watching him because his inventions are something they can not do themselves, Daily Mail informs. In addition, he adds that it is becoming increasingly rare to see someone so passionate about their job like himself. He believes this is part of what sets him apart from other internet stars. Through his successes, Shuai teaches and inspires his followers to do things that they enjoy and to chase their dream no matter what obstacles might appear. He proves that even though it might not be easy, doing things that you like without caring about what others might think of you is the most reasonable solution towards living happily.