Shenzhen: The Hardware Capital of the World

shenzhen hardware

Written by Andrea Rossi


China’s Creative Capital, Silicon Valley of Asia, and Hardware Capital of the World. These are just some of the names Shenzhen has earned for itself over the past few decades. Anyone in the tech and manufacturing industry knows that it is the premier city for sourcing electronic components and products. But there is more to Shenzhen than that.


From Fishing Village to Tech Capital

Once a bucolic fishing village with just around 30,000 residents, Shenzhen is now a major technology center that is home to global electronic brands. Established as the first special economic zone in China in 1980, it transformed from a quaint province to a bustling metropolis with millions of residents and thousands of business establishments. As a special economic zone, Shenzhen implemented economic policies that were more free-market-oriented. Among other flexible regulations, tax and business incentives were provided to attract both domestic and foreign investors. With the government encouraging entrepreneurial ventures and foreign investments in the area, it became a major shopping and entertainment district and a central hub of manufacturing.

Today, Shenzhen produces over 90% of the world’s electronics. Its GDP has grown an average of 20.7% annually over the past four decades. Despite the global crisis in 2020, Shenzhen saw a 3.1% growth in GDP at 429 billion US dollars.


electronic hardware

Shenzhen, Home of Hardware

What is Shenzhen famous for? Shenzhen is known as the hardware Silicon Valley of Asia where companies can get hardware built fast and for a low cost. Manufacturers can build a prototype or final product from an initial design draft at a fraction of the cost it takes in other countries. More so, they do it in a short span of time with unparalleled product turnover rates.

The speed of production in Shenzhen can be attributed to its wide range of products and its vast talent pool of skilled professionals. At the heart of its tech ecosystem is Huaqiangbei (HQB), a vast shopping complex with a multitude of tech and hardware stores. It is a rich market where consumers can find virtually every component needed to make any electronic gadget. It offers both western consumer products and the latest Chinese technology, from microchips and circuit boards to the latest flying drones and mobile phones.

HQB is also home to a hardware accelerator equipped with everything needed for innovation. The accelerator has prototyping rooms and a fabrication facility complete with industrial testing equipment. It also has a bio lab to enable research in the medical and agricultural industries.

This huge electronics market is complemented by a heft of skilled workers and tech innovators. Because of its tech ecosystem, Shenzhen attracts designers, engineers, developers, and other licensed professionals.

With both hardware and peopleware, Shenzhen continues to lead the tech manufacturing industry with unparalleled speed and efficiency. As the world shifts to digitalization, we can expect the hardware capital to grow even more.


Birthplace of Innovation

At the onset of its economic transformation, Shenzhen was regarded as a city with low-quality labor, low-end gadgets, and cheap knock-offs. However, it has long surpassed this image and made huge leaps in the tech and hardware industry.

Aside from being the primary source for hardware, Shenzhen has also become the birthplace of innovation. In contrast to Western business models where copyrights are almost imperative, Shenzhen encourages sharing of knowledge and resources.

Local inventors willingly share data online to help others replicate or innovate on newly released inventions. This culture of open-source design promotes collaboration while spurring competitiveness. It enables the entire community to make leaps and bounds in innovating technological solutions. As a result, we see fast iterations and a plethora of product versions. Ultimately, this leads to progressively better technological solutions that benefit the consumer market.

Having built a solid reputation in the industry, Shenzhen is now a hub for companies from Europe, Asia, and the US, including IBM, Lenovo, Huawei, and Apple. Aside from manufacturing firms, new internet companies are also being built throughout the city. In the near future, we can expect Shenzhen to be the world leader in technology innovation.


shenzhen circuit building

A Global Hub for Modern Enterprises

A Global Hub for Modern Enterprises Aside from the tech industry, Shenzhen has become the place to be for virtually all industries. It has a rich tourism sector, bustling retail and entertainment centers, a robust business environment, and a growing healthcare industry. By 2017, it was the only city in China to have crossed the three-million-mark for market entities.

Shenzhen is home to eight Fortune 500 companies, more than 400 listed entities, over 70,000 tech-based enterprises, and millions of businesses across all industries. With countless business organizations, it is approximated that the hub has one entrepreneur in every 10 citizens. It paved the success of domestic companies, including Tencent, ZTE, and Makeblock. Several global companies also have headquarters here, including Citigroup, Standard Chartered, and HSBC.

In the next 15 years, Shenzhen is set on becoming the world capital of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship. As the city strives to attain this goal, it will undoubtedly become the best place for enterprises to do their business in the coming years.


A Partner for Business Growth

Whether you are a micro-entrepreneur running a startup company or a CEO of an established corporation, Shenzhen offers a wealth of opportunities to boost your business. It is the place where brilliant ideas become tangible assets and where possibilities for innovation are endless. It is where your business should be today.

If you are looking for reputable enterprises you could partner with to grow your business, leverage Shenzhen’s established companies. Consider ICS for electronic components, consumer goods, and industrial equipment.

ICS works with product or hardware designers, prototypers, startups, accelerators, and venture capitalists. We connect people, link supply and distribution chains, and build networks in Shenzhen. We bring your ideas to life by helping you create new products from concept to prototype to large-scale production. We are your partners for innovation and growth.

Choose Shenzhen. Choose ICS.


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