4 Historical Moments of Shenzhen Huaqiangbei Electronics Market
Huaqiangbei, China's biggest electronics market, is a commercial block set up at the end of last century which is located at Futian District in Shenzhen. It is famous for electronic accessories, mobiles, components, and popular gadgets.
It enjoys the fame of "China's Silicon Valley" for complete industry chains, great governmental support, and favourable export conditions. During its 20 years of development history, this 1.45 square kilometers land has went through great changes, just the same as the electronics market.
In this article, we picked 4 special moments from Huaqiangbei market, which are greatly mirroring its ups and downs.
1999: IC Chips
Chinese electronics component market was booming from 1990s to 2005. In 1999, along with the street transforming project, Electronics components market received great prosperity as well.
Cheng Dajun, a former clerk who worked at one IC chip shop in Seg Plaza, told Jinyu that during that time, large numbers of IC chips were sold out everyday, and buyers were mostly electronic factory owners. "They gave down-payment to us, waiting for their components to be delivered eagerly. We could get as much as 200,000 Yuan for deposit only in one single day."
The profit was enough also. "It was easy to make a gross profit at 50%, at least 30% of net return could be obtained, Cheng said, "It was a time during which sellers of this field were making money crazily and easily. Factories were in need of those components which would be installed into phones, speakers, DVD players etc."
2009: Replica Phones
Before 2010, when feature phones were still in substantial demand, people in Huaqiangbei started to sell copycat phones. Thanks to cheaper labor cost, better component resource, and relatively lower risk of being illegal, those replica phones were easy to be assembled and be sold.
Liu Ming was one of the retailers of that time. "Thousands of replica Nokias, iPhones, or Android Phones were shipped to different destinations all around the world everyday", Liu recalls, "in Huaqiangbei market, cost of a phone could be several hundred yuan only, as phone parts were flooding in the market also."
"Everyone was releasing new phones with functions as much as possible, which was like doing a competition", Liu tells us, "bigger speakers, more SIM card slots, Dual systems or even louder ring tones became sellers' opportunities."
However, since 2011, more and more fake mobile sellers have been punished for disobeying laws and regulations on intellectual properties. "Shops were shut down, and sellers dropped their businesses. Meanwhile, consumers started to focus on branded phones, as Apple or Samsung phones were good in both quality and functions."
Those propeller-drived and remote-controlled aerial vehicles were coming in fashion quickly since 2014. Sellers in Huaqiangbei sensed the opportunities in it and manufactured a series of drones catering to commercial market soon.
"Drone models were flying all over the street", security guard Li told Jinyu, "At the beginning, few sellers came out of the buildings to promote business. Then some of the staff began to launch those small flying toys to attract passerby. Only few months later, all the sky was howling, and operators stood in a row to control their drones. There were foreigners among those bystanders looking at the performance and asking about prices."
In early 2016, news about the danger of these aerial vehicles frequently released. The small aerial models have drawn the attention of the government, who reiterated regulations banning unauthorized flying of drones. "The street was quiet again, and those drones went back to their exhibition booths."
2017: Bitcoin Mining Hardware
Bitcoin is a kind of electronic cash without central administrative bank which can be obtained by proper computing. It was generated in earlier years but became popular again in 2016-2017 in China, when mining machines were largely manufactured. With tailor-made power supplies and special GPU modules, these special computers were good at Bitcoin mining.
This also aroused great interest of sellers in Huaqiangbei. For this reason, miners from all over the world rolled in here searching of mining machines. "Everybody put a small board on his shop, telling buyers it had Bitcoin machines", Li said, "some sellers are not in electronic business, but they also hung the board on their shops. For short supply, those machines were normally sold at sky-high prices."
Shortly afterwards, the exchange rate fluctuated, meanwhile, Chinese government strengthened its reminder on risks of Bitcoin. The machine market went down quickly. "Sellers put those computers on clearance sale, or even disassembled them to sell the components."
Even though failures often arrive at here, the future for Huaqiangbei is bright: creative makers are setting up researching centers, more policies are released to attract talents, and electronics sellers are encouraged to transform their business to diversified fields. Customers will definitely be amazed by Huaqiangbei's creativity and vitality soon.