Electronics and I go back a long way. So, it won’t come as any surprise that I’ve just spent the last two days in Huaqiangbei, the electronics capital of the world. From our apartment, it took 30 minutes and it’s located on metro line 1, station Huaqiang Road. We headed out of exit A, towards the SEG plaza. My crude attempt of a map below shows the path we took today.
This place is beyond massive and we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s available. It’s a bit like combining Amazon, EBay, Argos and pretty much all electronic retail stores, and giving them a physical location on the high street. Then next to it all, build several malls and pack them full of every electronic component ever made.
We found 8 floors in the first SEG plaza, pictured above. The first floor was dominated with tiny stalls selling electronic components like LED strips, switches, microprocessors and cables. If there was a particular resistor or capacitor you needed, you’d surely find it here. It puts Maplins to shame (RIP Maplins.)
Each floor felt like there was a theme going on. I forget the details. However, there’d be one floor full of gadgets, drones and oddities. Another floor would be full of branded laptops and desktops. Which by the way seemed to be cheaper then Hong Kong. I’d need to do some proper comparisons to be sure though. One of the floors looked like a custom PC builders paradise with PSU’s, cases and motherboards strewn everywhere. For those Virgin media people I used to work with, it resembled the computer room next to reception (Hi to Faz and Imran). For the Asda folks of times way past- Georges build room 🙂 For those that I have never had the pleasure of working with, sorry that the references mean little to you! Think ‘IT Crowd’ or the stereotypes of computer nerds hibernating in some glorious basement filled with all manner of IT goodness (and empty food wrappers!)
Really though, you can’t appreciate how immense this place is till you’ve been here. It’s a living and breathing world full of geeks. Each floor has a little food section displaying the obligatory dead duck behind a yellow stained greasy glass cabinet. In addition there are Chinese Deliveroo couriers ferrying takeaways to the thousands of techies who live here.
The rest of the floors are taken up by computer components, you know like graphics cards, USB adapters, TV boxes and printers. The further up you go the quieter it got -so maybe that’s where the bargains are at? Or perhaps that’s the graveyard of obsolete tech!
Another thing that was blatantly obvious was the constant sound of parcel tape, being pulled unceremoniously from the roll, as countless boxes were taped ready to start their journey to wherever they were destined to end up. I’m thinking this place is a major export hub to the rest of the world. Possibly via Ebay, Banggood, Amazon or that type of retail outlet.
We eventually found our way out and decided to walk further down the high street. To our surprise, there seemed to be more malls. Each seemed specific towards the type of tech on sale. I purchased a Nokia phone for my UK simcard. Of course, I had to haggle the price a bit (even though it was virtually nothing to start with!)
One thing you can’t help but notice is the large amount of fake shops. Fresh looking Apple boutiques with staff wearing identical Apple Authorised Reseller t-shirts. Upon closer inspection, the iPads and iPhone X’s seen a little unusual. Maybe it’s the wobbly volume rockers that gave it away, or perhaps the washed out screen that’s a couple of degrees off centre.
I’m going to leave this one here. I took a bunch of photo’s so I’ll just collate them at the end of the blog like last time.
There will always be a reason to wander the streets gazing at the endless rows of technological marvels. Maybe I’ll sign up for a few games of PUBG in the massive E-Sports building or I’ll check out one of the many maker clubs that exist in some dark corner of SEG plaza. In summary, I’ll come here a lot!