The World’s Greatest Electronics Market and a Tour of Shenzhen’s Seeedstudio

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In Shenzhen, China lies the world’s best electronics marketplace named Huaqiangbei, said huá qiáng běi (sound byte of pronunciation). Huaqiangbei is a Maker’s dream. The marketplace but is not foreigner friendly and calls for some local understanding to navigate.

Located 10 miles from Hong Kong, you could recognize Shenzhen as synonymous with Foxconn. Foxconn, the sector’s biggest electronics manufacturer, makes Apple products, Kindles, Playstations, and Wiis to name a few. Most factories are placed an hour north of Shenzhen, but they maintain a presence in the shape of a stall with income representatives in Shenzhen’s Huaqiangbei marketplace.

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As there are not any direct flights to Shenzhen from the United States, you’ll fly into Hong Kong and then capture a van, ferry, or train to Shenzhen. For US residents, getting to Shenzhen requires a Chinese visa. At the time of this writing, the visa should be obtained from the USA and can’t be received from Hong Kong. Note that a few EU countries and Australians are allowed to attain a special 5-day Shenzhen only visa from Hong Kong immediately. Check with nearby policies, as these regulations are dynamic.

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The site visitors in Shenzhen is terrible. The locals will suggest journeying via automobile after 10:00 AM and before four:00 PM to avoid rush hour. For example, I left for the airport at three:30 PM making the return trip back in ninety minutes, half of the time it took to get to Shenzhen in rush hour.

The marketplace is satisfactory accessed with the aid of metro from Huaqianglu Station. Huaqiangbei’s consumer electronics stores are not any exclusive than what you’ll locate in the US or anywhere else with similar costs. Skip those stores and spend your time in the homes committed to Android drugs, “Shanzhai” phones (copies), smartphone accessories, components, LEDs, numerous devices, and so on. A Shenzhen primarily based open supply hardware design company named Seeedstudio has launched a brilliant Shenzhen map for Makers calling out the specific buildings to go to (the link includes a downloadable PDF). I have to say the map changed into beneficial. Huaqiangbei has such a lot of homes, understanding which ones to visit become a large assist.

If you’re like me and don’t speak Chinese, matters will be a bit extra difficult as only a few of the vendors talk English. Below are a few terms underneath to get you via. When it comes time to talk charge, simply point to the calculator. Every seller has one and is greater than inclined to negotiate with it. Be certain and get a card from your resort with the call and address in Chinese characters and you could certainly present the hotel card to a taxi provider.

English Chinese
Hello Nǐ hǎo.
Thank You Xièxiè.
Receipt Fāpiào
Being a foreigner, you’ll be quoted slightly higher prices than the locals. The quoted expenses but aren’t outrageous and with a few minor haggling, you could effortlessly arrive at a fair rate. I located the negotiation system to be very clean and in some instances, the charge turned into extra than honest initially requiring no haggling. Having been to a number of the touristy electronics markets in Shanghai in which the initial charges are 5x to 10x with competitive sales techniques, this become a welcome remedy.

MemoryRemember those companies are representatives from their manufacturing unit and are there to promote in excessive portions. Yes you could purchase that reminiscence card for a dollar, just don’t be surprised if you don’t get a thank you.

For Makers, I’d endorse also paying a visit to the subsequent at the same time as in Shenzhen:

Seeedstudio – a Shenzhen based totally open source hardware fashion designer & manufacturer (appointment required)
Chaihuo – Shenzhen’s hacker space
HAXLR8R – a startup incubator for hardware projects (appointment required)
Seeedstudio is quite an exciting organization. Located in near proximity to Huaqiangbei‘s big electronics supply chain, they simply make journeys to the marketplace for the general public in their wishes. Seeed’s abilties run the total gamut from layout, PCB board engineering, in-house manufacturing, success, and even a web shop for Makers to promote their warez. In essence, they may be a one-forestall-shop for the busy Maker. Seeed grew up with and caters to the Maker network with favored minimal quantity product runs of one hundred portions as well as a flip key carrier for completely soldered and assembled PCB prototypes of quantities 2 to 10. Seeed’s body of workers of a hundred thirty and growing has produced open supply designs in their personal, specifically around the Arduino ecosystem. Of precise hobby is Seeed’s Grove line of pluggable sensors and shields making speedy prototyping a snap and Seeed’s new wearable electronics line, Xadow.

I’ve used Seeed for a few tasks of my own, PIXEL and the DIY Magic Mirror. It become sincerely extremely good to see them in the flesh in Shenzhen. A component in their commercial enterprise consists of helping small time Maker guys like me.Seeed has been part of over 40 Kickstarter projects to this point. For my projects, I leveraged Seeed very early in the design level. Seeed in flip made recommendations and tweaks making the transition to manufacturing very smooth. Note that I obtain no monetary compensation from Seeed. I am simply a customer who had a super enjoy and who believes in sharing.

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