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[GB] GMK Houhai 后海 | GB Closed, all kits will be made!

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GMK Houhai 后海

A sense memory of misspent Beijing nights

Group buy closed, order pending

In the heart of Beijing, tucked behind the Forbidden City thronged with tourists, and the party compound heavily guarded, there is a small lake. At night this lake comes alive with neon lights piercing the city haze, advertising every pleasure under heaven, plied by pedal boats in the summer and speed skaters in the winter, redolent with the sights, sounds, and smells of the city. They call it Houhai (pron. HOH-high): 后海.  In this place, a photo negative of Pleasure Island, the ancient, the modern, and the futuristic live side by side.

GMK Houhai is an ancient-futurist keycap set design inspired by the sights of the Chinese capital at night. Rendered in a mix of custom RAL and GMK stock colors, GMK Houhai (pron. HOH-high) evokes the Beijing night sky in a warm, hazy grey, with alpha legends in the fluorescent red of the Chinese city sidewalk reflecting neons after a rain, and modifiers in shades of cobalt, aqua, jade, gold, and clean white that can be found in both the ornate woodwork of historic sites and in the kaleidoscope of city lights.

The GMK Houhai set legends are based around the Cangjie (仓颉) typing system, first among many methods of typing in Chinese using Chinese characters. The set is fully functional for Cangjie typists, as well as Pinyin and Latin character users.

See a full gallery of board renders

Follow me on IG @fort_stevens for photos and project updates, and feel free to reach out on Discord at grundlemere#1126 with questions or to say hello.


Production expected to complete at 48 weeks from order placement in September 2021, expected to ship from manufacturer in Q4 2022.


* July 27: GB thread posted
* August 2: Posted vendor links
* September 6: Posted closure information


US: Cannonkeys
China: Zfrontier
SE Asia: iLumkb
Europe: CandyKeys
Australia: Daily Clack
UK (non-EU):


In the base kit, Latin legends and Cangjie Chinese sublegends, while the numrow displays Chinese numeral sublegends, all rendered in brilliant fluorescent red on hazy dark grey. The numpad features complex financial characters used on money and in transaction records to prevent forgery. Simplified Chinese (as used in Beijing) and Traditional Chinese (used in overseas territories and increasingly popular on the mainland) base kits are availale. Perhaps most eye-catching, the other kits offered include clean Cangjie monolegend alphas + Chinese character arrow sets to complete the look, and a novelty kit I hope will knock your socks off. Novelties are rendered in seven kit colors, with the famous sights, legendary bites, and urban highlights of the Chinese a ghost story.

燕京 Yānjīng (Capital of Swallows) SC base kit

琉璃廠 Liúlíchăng (Culture Street) TC base kit

小吃 Xiăochī (Little Snacks) novelties kit

笔顺 Bĭshùn (Stroke Order) Cangjie monolegend alphas kit

太空人 Tàikōngrén (Taikonaut) spacebars kit

See a full gallery of kit renders


This is a higher-end set for sure, but well in line with both our costs and the market. In fact, compared to GMK Shanshui, most of the kit pricing is comparable, as I had hoped and all but promised. Enormous base kits, including six total colors (three custom), an alt character numpad, generous kitting, and numerous accent keys, are only $5 USD more than the monochrome Shanshui. The alt monolegend alphas kit is in fact significantly cheaper this time around, while the spacebars, with more colors, are a bit more expensive.

The real sticker shock may come from the novelties kit. It's my favorite kit and certainly the one that caught most people's eyes when this IC first launched. It is a super-premium novelties kit, perhaps the most complex ever rendered in doubleshot. Twenty-four brand-new molds, 16 color combinations, seven total colors including a novelty-exclusive custom midnight purple, and 36 pieces altogether? It was never going to be cheap.

I can tell you that all seven vendors and I worked very closely to try other options for a more limited, simplified, and streamlined kit, and we all agreed instead to YOLO it and give you what was promised. This kit will need your support to get made, but I also feel like we will be seeing a lot of regrettable r/mm FOMO buys when it ships.

What can I say? It's a premium set at a premium price point. You're worth it.

(prices in USD)Zfrontier/English
(prices in RMB/USD)iLumkb
(prices in SGD)CandyKeys
(prices in EUR, incl. VAT)
(prices in GBP, incl. VAT)
(prices in CAD)Daily Clack
(prices in AUD)燕京 Yānjīng (Capital of Swallows) SC base kit (162pcs)$139.99¥978/$165$204€144£125$184.99$196琉璃廠 Liúlíchăng (Calligraphy Street) TC base kit (162pcs)$139.99¥978/$165$204€144£125$184.99$196小吃 Xiăochī (Little Snacks) novelties kit (36pcs)$94.99¥640/$105$139€94£82$124.99$129笔顺 Bĭshùn (Stroke Order) Cangjie monolegend alphas kit (64pcs)$64.99¥445/$72$95€62£56$85.99$88太空人 Tàikōngrén (Taikonaut) spacebars kit (15pcs)$36.99¥245/$40$54€37£32$48.99$50

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NathanAlphaMan for the gorgeous renders and the critical design feedback early in the process
Exclusive for the the cultural translation help and the permission to use his beautiful e8.5 in our renders
My sibling, Maho, for the defining artistic style of the icons
The MK Community for supporting GMK Shanshui 山水 and helping me make this set a reality
David, Alex,Louis, Jerrold, and Phatty for their immediate passion for this project and being the best hypemen
Nero and the Matrix Labs team for talking me out of a bad decision
Digital Carpentryfor being my first partner and my biggest sounding board through all of this
energieschleuder for convincing me this could really happen
The people of Beijing for opening my eyes to what is possible

Thanks for reading this far and thank you for your feedback.

Show your support for GMK Houhai with this sig banner!

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So hot, can't wait!

my wallet is pain but my heart is joy

串門 means to drop by for a visit. don't see how it means run?


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