Some will say that Akihabara in Japan is the world’s No.1 electronic commercial street, while the truth is Huaqiangbei is 30 times larger in scale than Akihabara, which makes it the actual No.1 electronic commercial street in the world.
What’s more, the customers visiting Akihabara are basically ordinary tourists while the customers visiting Huaqiangbei are professional buyers from all over the world.
In this article I’m going to introduce Huaqiangbei with full details, including its background story, the most recommendable markets, and some tips for your visit there, to give you a complete image of this legendary electronic market.
Origination of Huaqiangbei
In 1979, the North Guangdong Arsenal was approved to be moved to Shenzhen. The new factory of the Arsenal in Shenzhen was named “Huaqiang”, which bears the meaning of “powerful China”. The road near the factory was named “Huaqiang Road”, and this is the origin of the name of “Huaqiangbei”, meaning the northern part of the area alongside Huaqiang Road.
A few years later, Fuyuan Ma, the chairman of the SEG Group, decided to open a market in Shenzhen similar to Akihabara. In 1988, Ma established the SEG Electronics Market inside the SEG Industrial Development Building.
On the other side of the street, the Huaqiang factory was moved elsewhere as Huaqiangbei gradually became the CBD of the city. And the emptied plants of Huaqiang were turned into an electronic market with a business area of 60,000 square meters.
Shortly after that, the SEG Industrial Development Building was demolished and rebuilt into the SEG Plaza, a skyscraper with over 70 floors, the business area of which up to 160,000 square meters.
In the following years, under the leading of SEG and Huaqiang, dozens of markets came into existence, and the electronic industry spread its wings in Huaqiangbei completely.
An interesting fact about Huaqiangbei is that the stores set up in the markets there are usually no more than one meter wide in size because market space is extremely limited compared to the demand. And these mini-stores are called one-meter counters by locals.
However, even with a store in such a small size, the sellers can still generate remarkably high revenue that you can’t even imagine. Countless millionaires made their first fortune standing behind these counters.
According to the former office director of Huaqiangbei Management Committee, more than 50 people among those who opened a one-meter counter in the earliest stage in SEG Plaza are now billionaires.
Many of the Chinese enterprises among the list of Top 500 Corporations Worldwide such as Tencent and Dji also set their very first step in Huaqiangbei.
Shanzhai (copycat) Mobile Phones
Speaking of Huaqiangbei, the word “Shanzhai” can’t be easily got passed by.
In 2003, MediaTek launched the first single-chip mobile phone solution, which integrated modules such as communication, Bluetooth, and camera. With this solution, you can make a phone simply just by adding components to the chip. This solution dramatically lowers the manufacturing cost of mobile phones and shortens the production circle down to several weeks.
Relying on the matchless electronic industry supply chain, Huaqiangbei dominated the mobile phone market with the MediaTek solution. The mobile phones from Huaqiangbei were not only sold in the domestic market but also exported to India, Africa, the Middle East, and other countries and regions.
There are 3 to 5 new models of mobile phones launched in Huaqiangbei every day back then. You can find all kinds of mobile phone here like a phone that can be inserted with 4 SIM cards, a phone with a lighter, or even a phone shaped just like a grenade. And the best-selling models of brands such as Nokia might also be easily copied by Huaqiangbei, right after being launched.
These phones were usually labeled with “SZ”, which stands for Shenzhen, to show their origin place. But “SZ” can also stand for the word “Shanzhai”, which means “mountain village” in Chinese. Over time, these cheap but ridiculously multifunctional mobile phones are called Shanzhai phones.
While Shanzhai mobile phones were forced out of history due to the increasing popularity of smartphones and the awakening of people’s brand awareness, Huaqiangbei resolutely began its industrial transformation and upgrading instead of being drenched in its past glory.
Now Huaqiangbei is not just a market. It also features a large number of industrial functions such as technology introduction, technology exchange, product release, product development, logistics warehousing and distribution, information exchange, talent exchange, and capital exchange.
9 recommended markets in Huaqiangbei
Now that you’ve known the complete background story of Huaqiangbei, it’s time to dig into the most valuable markets there that worth a visit. The following markets are located very closely, so you can visit them all on foot.
1. SEG Electronics Plaza
The SEG Plaza is a landmark building in the Huaqiangbei commercial district. It is constructed in 1988 with a business area of 48,000 square meters. The 1st to 9th floors of the Seg Plaza are the electronic markets, which mainly sell mobile phones and computers under strict quality control.
And the SEG Electronics Market, which was reconstructed from the Baohua Building, is next to the SEG Electronics Plaza. The two buildings, whose combined customer flow is over 50,000 in total, are connected to each other by a flyover.
2. Huaqiang Electronics World
Huaqiang Electronics World is the second-largest electronics trading center in Shenzhen, featured in electronic components and secondhanded electronic products, especially known for its secondhanded computer trading market.
|Layout of the Huaqiang Electronics World|
|First Floor||Electronic components|
|Second Floor||Computer components and assembling|
|Third Floor||Secondhanded components and computer repairing|
|Fourth Floor||Secondhanded computers and laptops|
Huaqiang Electronics World was established in 1988 with a business area of 43,000 square meters, and it is a large-scale professional market for electronics and computers with more than 2,800 shops and nearly 10,000 people working in it.
3. Yuanwang Digital Mall
Yuanwang Digital Mall is located in the center area of Huaqiangbei, and it attracts over half of the mobile phone bulk purchasers. It is the largest one-stop procurement center for mobile phones and digital products whose business covers more than 50 countries and regions.
This mall is featured in the following 4 main product categories:
The first category is digital audio-visual products such as digital cameras, camcorders, electronic notebooks, digital voice recorders, and color TV;
The second category is communication products such as mobile phones and components, program-controlled switches, video phones, fax machines, photocopiers, and copycats;
The third category is computers and application products such as personal computers, laptops, network application products, printers, scanners, and computer monitors;
The fourth category is various electronic security and anti-theft monitoring equipment products.
4. Mingtong Digital City
The Mingtong Digital City has a business area of 60,000 square meters with over 50,000 people working in it, and its daily customer flow is more than 10,000.
The market layout of Mingtong Digital City is listed below:
|Layout of the Mingtong Digital City|
|1st-2nd Floor||Mobile phones of domestic and foreign branded companies|
|3rd Floor||Mobile phones of domestic startup companies|
|4th Floor||Mobile phones for exporting|
|5th-6th Floor||Mobile phones development|
There are 3 features of Mingtong Digital City that make it the most competitive sales market for mobile phones in Huaqiangbei.
Distribution channels all over the world：As a professional mobile phone market integrated with research and development, demonstration, sales and business negotiation, Mingtong attracts customers from all over the world.
Economy Chain Effect：There are dozens of financial institutions and logistic companies along with over 100,000 practitioners and consumers within the 200-meter business area around Mingtong Digital City, so the chain effect will be more obvious in Huaqiangbei as the consumption in accommodation, food service, shopping and parking is boosted by Mingtong.
Online Sales Platform：Online sales platforms have been established, which further expanded the online sales network of Mingtong Digital City. There are thousands of sellers in Mingtong Digital City who offer their products on these online platforms, which provides a great marketing advantage to Mingtong.
5. Shenzhen Duhui Electronic City
The Duhui Electronic City has a business area of 18,000 square meters. It is equipped with advanced commercial facilities and marketed and promoted on a uniform basis.
|Layout of the Shenzhen Duhui Electronic City|
|1st Floor||Switches, screws, headphone sockets, power sockets, etc.|
|2nd Floor||Domestic resistance capacitor, etc.|
|3rd Floor||FPC connectors, USB, diodes, various mobile phone accessories, etc.|
|4th Floor||Touch switches, waterproof switches, self-locking toggle switches, etc.|
Shenzhen Duhui Electronic City is located close to the subway station, which allows it to utilize urban public resources to the best. By the principle of “more convenience and less worry”, Duhui provides business, storage and transportation, and other services. It represents the new modern image of Huaqiangbei.
6. Shenzhen International Electronics City
Shenzhen International Electronics City has a business area of 3,800 square meters, and inside it, there are more than 200 sellers.
The first floor of the Electronics City is focused on branded mobile phones, security smart devices, communication electronic equipment, appliances, and mobile phone repair services. The second floor is focused on professional stage audio, cameras, game consoles, computers, and other small appliances.
7.Pacific Security Protection Market
If you want to source security products, then the Pacific Security Protection Market would be a must-visit market for you.
This market was opened in 2003 with a business area of 18,000 square meters. It is located close to SEG Electronics Plaza, Huaqiang Electronics World, and Mingtong Digital City. Half of the Top 100 security companies in China gather in here, which makes it a professional security market with the largest scale and the richest product categories.
8. Wanshang Electronic City
The word “Wanshang” means “ten thousand merchants” in English, which implies the wide-ranged products of this market to some degree. The three main product categories of Wanshang Computer City are computers, electronic appliances, and communication products.
However, the best-selling products in this market are video games and game consoles, which you may find surprising. The best companies in the game industry have set their store here, making here one of the most professional markets in the game industry.
9. Tong Tian Di Telecommunication Market
This Market is extremely specialized in secondhanded iPhone, if you want to make your own iPhone from scratch, then I bet you wouldn’t be disappointed coming to this market.
Batteries, screens, back cameras and middle frames, in this market you can find almost any component related to an iPhone. If you want to repair any broken iPhone, then come here, and your iPhone will be turned into a brand new one regardless of how damaged it is.
6 tips for sourcing in Huaqiangbei
1. Complete your transactions on a face-to-face basis
Shenzhen is a rather fast-paced city, and there are many people who come here just to make some fast cash. So the safest way to do business in Huaqiangbei would be finishing transactions on-site, otherwise, you may find the seller vanished in a few months and left the transaction unfulfilled.
2. The MOQ in Huaqiangbei is relatively small
The minimum order quantity could be very small in Huaqiangbei, and some shops are even up for retailing. So you don’t have to order a large quantity always, you can even buy all the things you want with simply a suitcase if you like.
3. Always bargain for a lower price
Generally speaking, the lower limit of the price of products in Huaqiangbei should be the lowest among all the similar markets in China as long as you know how to bargain. So try not to take any offer before bargaining.
4. Find the original manufacture by compare prices from different sellers
Not all the sellers in Huaqiangbei are manufactures, and actually, most of them are just distributors or middlemen selling on the manufacture’s behalf. So if you want to find the real lowest price for your product, compare the prices from different sellers or compare them with prices on online platforms such as Alibaba.
5. Prepare for local payment methods
Since international purchasers are much fewer than domestic purchasers in Huaqiangbei, there are chances your seller only accepts local payment methods such as WeChat and Alipay, but not international payment methods. So make sure you are prepared for these payment methods on your phone.
6. For long-term cooperation, consider finding a reliable sourcing agent.
As we said above, the seller turnover rate in Huaqiangbei is very high. This means it will be difficult to develop a long-term relationship directly with any sellers. So a sourcing agent familiar with the markets there would be highly recommended if you want to purchase products in Huaqiangbei in the long run
Thanks for your reading, if you find this article helpful, please feel free to share it with others. If you have any questions about the Huaqiangbei Electronics Market after reading, leave a comment below so we can help you out.
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