Akihabara, Eat Your Heart Out

Ten years ago, Akihabara was the place to be for the latest electronics and knick knacks and components. I’m convinced the new place to be is the SEG Electronics Market in Shenzhen (although to be fair I heard there is a competing market in Korea that’s supposedly even better–the Japanese test-market their stuff there even before they try it in Akihabara!).

As I first step foot into the building, I am assaulted by a whirlwind of electronic components. Tapes and reels of resistors and capacitors, ICs of every type, inductors, relays, pogo pin test points, voltmeters, trays of memories, all crammed into tiny six-by-three foot booths with a storekeeper poking away at a laptop, sometimes playing Go, sometimes counting parts. Some booths are true mom-and-pop shops, with mothers tending to babies and kids playing in the aisles.

Other booths are professional setups with uniformed staff and work like a bar for electronic components, complete with bar stools.

And it’s not like, oh, you can get ten of these LEDs or a couple of these relays like you do in Akihabara. No, no. These booths specialize and if you see something you like, you can usually buy several tubes, trays or reels of it–you can go into production the next day. Over there, a woman sorting stacks of 1GB mini-SD cards like poker chips; here, a man putting sticks of 1 GB Kingston memory into retail packages, next to him, a girl counting resistors.

Stacks of power supplies, varistors, batteries; ROM programmers. Atmel, Intel, Broadcom, Samsung, Yamaha, Sony, AMD, Fujitsu, every variety of chip. Some of them clearly ripped out of used equipment and remarked, some of them in brand new laser-marked OEM packaging.

Chips that I couldn’t dream of buying in the US, reels of rare ceramic capacitors that I only dream about at night. My senses tingle, my head spins. I can’t supress a smirk of anticipation as I walk around the next corner, to see shops stacked floor to ceiling with probably a hundred million resistors and capacitors.

Oh my god! Sony CCD and CMOS camera elements, I couldn’t buy those in the US if I pulled teeth out of the sales reps–and behind the counter, the guy sometimes has a datasheet–ask for it. A stack of Micrel regulator chips–over there, a Blackfin DSP chip for sale. The smell, the bustle, the hustle. It’s the ultimate electronic component flea market. Over here, a lady counting 256 Mbit DRAM chips…trays of 108 components, stacked twenty high, a row of perhaps 10 of them–she has the equivalent of Digikey’s entire stock of DRAM chips sitting right in front of me.

And across from her is a half dozen more little shops packed with chips just like hers. A man standing proudly over a tray of 4 Gbit NAND FLASH. All of this available for a little haggling, a bit of cash, and a hasty goodbye. This is Digikey gone mad. It’s as if they let the monkeys into the warehouse at Thief River Falls, Minnesota and spilled it into a flea market in China, and then some.

And that’s just the first two floors. Six more floors of computer components, systems, laptops, motherboards, digital cameras, security cameras, thumb drives, mice, video cameras, high end graphics cards, flat panel displays, shredders, lamps, projectors, you name it. On weekends, “booth babes” dressed in outrageous Acer-branded glittery body suits are loitering around trying to pull you in to buy their wares. It’s got all the energy of a year-round CES meets Computex, except the point here is not to show off the latest technology–it’s to get you in to these booths to buy it. Trade shows always feel like a bit of a strip tease, with your breath making ghostly rings on the glass as you hover close over the unobtainable wares underneath. This is no strip tease. This is the orgy of consumer and industrial electronic purchasing, you can get your grubby paws on every piece of equipment for enough quai out of your wallet.

A brisk walk down the street 3 blocks lies the Shenzhen bookstore. The first and most visible rack of books is a foreign book section, packed with classic books like Thomas Lee’s RF design book and several Razavi titles. I pick up Lee’s book…68 quai, or $8.50. Holy cow! Jin Au Kong’s book on Maxwell’s Equations…$5. Jin Au Kong taught me Maxwell’s Equations at MIT. I go on a spree…I pack my bag with six or seven titles, probably around $700 worth of books, and I go to the checkout counter and buy them for less than $35–complete with the supplemental CDs.That’s like an economy class ticket to Hong Kong right there!

Knowledge is cheap. Components are cheap. The knowledege in those books are the Real Deal, and the parts down the street are all there. And within an hours drive north is probably 200 factories that can take any electronics idea and pump them out by the literal boatload…and these are no backward factories. I saw with my own eyes name-brand 1550nm single-mode long-haul fiberoptic transcievers being built and tested out there. Shenzhen is fertile ground. You need to come here to see it to understand it. As a technologist from the US, I tremble in my boots, with terror and excitement–I get to be a part of this! This place has the pregnant feel of the swapfests in Silicon Valley back in the 80′s, when all the big companies were just being founded and starting up…except magnified by 25 years of progress in Moore’s Law and the speed of information flow via the Internet. In this city of 12 million people, most involved in tech or manufacturing, plenty of foreign influence, many learning English, all of them willing to work hard, there has to be a Jobs and Wozniak somewhere, quietly building the next revolution.

Okay, so this wasn’t a name that ware…it’s lame, but my dog ate my homework. I lost my digital camera on the way to Shenzhen in the plane somewhere, so now someone has a camera full of pictures from Christmas, factories, bachelor parties, and idiosyncratic amounts of close-up shots of electronics. The guy who found it has to think I’m a weirdo (I guess I can’t deny that!). I’ll find another ware and put it up soon–give me a couple of days!

115 Responses to “Akihabara, Eat Your Heart Out”

  1. ladyada says:

    yummy

  2. [...] Akihabara, Eat Your Heart Out bunnie loses himself in a digital wonderland. If CES was a strip club, he found the brothel. [...]

  3. Victor Trac says:

    That’s utterly amazing. I had no idea such places even existed. I could probably spend days in there just wandering around.

  4. fbz says:

    i smell a vacation destination.

  5. teemu says:

    I never thought anyone could write in such poetical way about a .. electronics market; thanks dude, made my day!

  6. pt says:

    bunnie, this is great – i’m posting this on MAKE – please keep doing posts like this!

  7. daqq says:

    That’s heaven! When I die I wanna go there ;-)

  8. Mariano says:

    Hey, great post! i will be in Shenzhen next March, please! let me know how to get there, i´ll start saving from now!

  9. JM says:

    I’ve been to Shenzhen a while back and it’s a great shopping stopover.

    Just the normal warning for tourists, there’s a bit of pickpocketing in the city so keep an eye on your stuff. Also, as soon as they see a foreigner you’ll get highballed right away. You’ll just need to get out your bargaining skills to get the good deals.

  10. BR says:

    Do have an address or location? I am headed that way in a few months. I can’t read chinese for shuyt so going to their web site didn’t help.

  11. teabag says:

    Absolutely stunning. I consider myself lucky if I can find something as common as a MAX232 through a local vendor…The thought of being able to purchase single quantities of exotic parts without hassle and BS gives me a tech woodie that could cut glass.

  12. joolz says:

    Just back from Akihabara, last time was 10 years ago and could not believe what had happened. All the little dirty stores with components overflowing boxes have gone to be replaced by “EXPORT” shops. Was sad to see it like that

  13. KWillets says:

    This does look like Yongsan. But Yongsan has the “Electronic Wedding Hall”, so it wins.

  14. emperordane says:

    theres no chance that they are willing to barter, or errr… sell these parts to us stateside shackled to our many digikey and mouser boxes eh?

  15. Cybergibbons says:

    I’ve not been to Shenzhen, but there are similar (if not as big or varied) places all over China. It amazes me that they exist, a million little shops selling components and parts, each with a shopkeeper who actually knows his (or quite commonly her) stuff, and really wants to sell you as much as they can.

    I’ve found as a white westerner, it’s not any harder to get a good price. Whatever, it’s better than you get at home. Learning a minimal bit of Cantonese or Mandarin will go a long way…

  16. beaglebot says:

    Who shops at these places? Why don’t they exist in the US? I can’t imagine most US cities would be able to support them, but surely a market like this could survive in Silicon Valley.

  17. Refik says:

    WOW! I wish I could visit this store for at least one day! In local stores I can’t find anything that I need (not even an IC socket), mostly I have to order from the web, which again I hate because of the high shipping expenses and all the taxes. It will be a must to visit Shenzhen one day! Thank you for this article.

  18. Shirokuma says:

    Hey Joolz! Try harder! I’ve been going to Akihabara on a regular basis over the last few years (at least 2 or 3 times a month now) and you’ll find many of the smaller shops have moved just out from the station an into the back streets. At least Radio Center is still packed and Tokyo Radio Part has most of it’s shops still open.

    -SK

  19. Scott Norton says:

    Excellent! I’m going to Shenzen soon. How do I get there?

    S

  20. [...] bunnie’s blog » Blog Archive » Akihabara, Eat Your Heart Out [...]

  21. Corscaria says:

    o.O chips… by… the… reel… in… a… corner… store… ?…

    screw you guys i’m moving!!!

  22. kanchun says:

    The best way to get there is to start from the train border with HK. It is the terminal of ShenZhen subway Luo Hu station. Take 5 stops westbound on the direction of Shi Je Zhi Chuang and take off at Hua Qiang Lu. Get out to the ground at Exit A. As in any subway system, if you take the wrong exit, then you will be nowhere and you will be definitely lost. If you do not start with the border or not start from the subway, the best bet is to take a cab and ask for “Sai Gar” or “Hua Qiang Bei Lu”. If you have luck and the cab driver understand what you say and didn’t cheat you, you can’t miss it. It is the tallest building in the area. Quite high tech look in the vincinity.
    It is not only a couple of floors. It is a whole district with a few buildings full of these stores. Yes, “Buildings”. To name a few, there are SEG Square electronics market building. Hua Qiang electronics world building and also other small building the specialized in cell phone parts. It may not make you rich but can definitely help you to kill a lot of time there. The more experience and knowledgeable in electronics/computing/telecom parts, the more surprises you will get. If you are a real nerd, just like me, you can kill a few weeks there, just like when your first time visiting the NY or British Museum. It is definitely the mecca for any electronics hobbyist. You can easily start any business, build any electronics products in no time. If you know what you are doing. In the cell phone parts building, you have the selections of different parts and also semi-finished (SKD) parts. Just tell them what you needed and they build one for you. Maybe one quarter of the price of an off the shelf similar products but it will not pass any safety test and will not come with any warranty, as usual. Not to mentioned that there are wholesale shops that sell finished products.
    Although it is great and full of variety, I still like the old Akihabara. It was a real professional place and a lot of store owner treat there business as a life time hobby. It was clean and tidy. The store owner are real pro but unfortunately, speak a little bit of English if not none. However, if you know what you are watching and you are watching only, no communication needed and the price are fair with honesty should you decided to take it home. I was there almost 20 years ago. I planned to spend a week in Tokyo and I end up spending 5 days in Akihabara already. I went back about 5 years ago and the nostagia was gone and Tokyo was progressing too fast. I guess small shops can never survive with all these new city development. I had never see similar place anywhere in the world afterward. If anyone see anything that can turn electronics hobbyist on, please let us know.
    Chine SEG area is nothing like this. It is kind of tinted with Chinese culture. It is dirty, chaotic, huge with pragmatic but full of risk. If you really need some parts or see something you like, make sure you bargain because it is in the culture.
    Mind you, take a lot of cash with you if you cannot resist the temptation or decided to start your own business. Plastic won’t work and don’t take any currency. Not many place in ShenZhen take plastic, “Don’t leave home without it” won’t work.

  23. Henry Jin says:

    I am from Shanghai, China. There are huge markets in many large cities. My wife hates me entering such electronic market, just as I hate her lingering at clothe shops. -_-

    Yeah, SEG is a one in Shenzhen. But if you only have chance to visit Shanghai, China’s largest city, you ga to visit the “Pacific” market, whose website is http://www.pconline.com.cn . You may need someone knows Chinese to help you to read the website.

    You can check price online and try to negotiate price with dealer. Remember, there is no tax, the price is tax-inclusive.

  24. Henry Jin says:

    Reply to # BR, who says:
    “Do have an address or location? I am headed that way in a few months. I can’t read chinese for shuyt so going to their web site didn’t help.”

    Hi, BR:
    You can locate the SEG Electronic Market by Google Earth: 1) turn on the layer “Google Earth Community”, 2)fly to “22.544014, 114.082338″ which is of course the latitude and longitude.

    200 meters away, there is a subway station called “Huaqiang Lu Station”. Enjoy the subway which I think is so far world’s best and cleanest subway. It opened only 2 years ago.

  25. That’s absolutely amazing. I wish something like this would happen regularly in the United States.

  26. Ni Hao says:

    Good post…your description of that market somehow reminds me of the places in the cyber stories of William Gibson…the world of Neuromancer in reality.

  27. zombie says:

    thank you bunnie!! ouhio goziomas!!

  28. [...] Akihabara, Eat Your Heart Out Chips that I couldn’t dream of buying in the US, reels of rare ceramic capacitors that I only dream about at night. My senses tingle, my head spins. I can’t supress a smirk of anticipation as I walk around the next corner, to see shops stacked (tags: Electronics hardware microcontroller Shopping) [...]

  29. JMM says:

    I just went to the electronics market in January. Taxis are pretty cheap (about USD$10 for an hour long ride across the city). An easy way to get around is to get someone (hotel concierge, Chinese friend, etc.) to write down where you want to go in Chinese on a piece of paper or card and show it to the taxi driver. If you don’t speak Chinese, it’s best not to use verbal communication only to tell them where you want to go. The tones can be pretty tough and you’ll think you’re pronouncing it correctly, but who knows where you’ll end up. Along these lines, it’s always good to get a business card from your hotel (or any place that you’ve been and would like to go again) to show to a taxi driver. Despite the hotel card with a map on the back we had to use a mobile phone to call the front desk and let them tell the taxi driver directions.

    It’s probably only a 10-15 minute taxi ride (or less – we got stuck in a lot of traffic) from the Luo Hu train station meaning if you were coming from Kowloon, Hong Kong, it would probably take 1.5-2 hours or so to get there.

  30. R. Murali says:

    I wish to know the details of the shops which deal in electronic components and the website in english version. I visited the WebSite http://www.segem.com.cn but it is in Chinese version. Will you please help me out to get the required details.

  31. pascal says:

    i am waiting for computer componants and mp4 player for my business. do you have website adress of wholesaler’s in seg (web site in english ) ?

    i am living in France.

    thank you

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  33. gene says:

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  34. [...] Original post by bunnie   [...]

  35. RichF says:

    I have been to this market in Shenzhen several times too. It is fantastic. There are also various other specialized markets within a few blocks of this one. For example, there are some markets that secialize in mobile telephone parts and accessories. BTW, the Starbucks across the street makes a mean cappucino.

    I wanted to point out that Shenzhen is very close to Hong Kong and a lot of folks take day trips to Shenzhen or just fly into Hong Kong and then take the train to Shenhen and stay there because everything is still cheaper there. But beware of the multiplicy of scams in Shenzhen. This is a city that formed because of the piracy trade and it was the smugling point (maybe still is) between China and Hong Kong. The “Pirate ethic” still prevails.

    But as is already pointed out in other replies, there are similar markets in other cities. For example, I have visited the telecom market in Gaungzhou. I think the prices are better and the people are friendlier there. I think there is a better selection of consumer electronics there too.

    One thing to note. Those Kingston memory modules that were being put into “retail packages” were almost certainly not real Kingston modules. In Shenzhen, like all over China, copies and fakes are everywhere. Sometimes the copy is just as good as the original and it is almost impossible to tell the difference. Other times the parts sold are “overstock”, meaning they are made in the same factory as the original parts and are the same in every way. We call this “fourth shift” production. The original brand never sees a dime from the sale of his branded product. But beware of fakes that are completly mislabeled. For example, you will see flash memory drives labelled 4 GB and when you put them in the seller’s notebook, they show up as 4 GB, but when you get them back to your hotel you will find a nice virus as a gift and when you format the drive, it tuens out to be 256 K. I am not kidding. Also, you will see Products labelled as Sony, Apple, and the like that Sony and Apple never developed. These folks will blindly put anyone’s logo on anything. In fact, in one both we bought some music players and the seller offered to put various different logos on them for us. We could have Apple, Sony and about six other brands.

    Finally, there is an interesting market right outside the door of Low Hu station. So when you go through all the customs and immiogration lines on the China side, and walk out of the station and into the sunlight, you will see a flight of escalator steps to the right of the doorway. This is not an electronics part marketplace. It is selling consumer stuff. It is called Lo Hu City. It is a place that specializes in copies. You can get any designer anything there and the copies are sometimes so good that it is scary. You can get clothing, watches, gold clubs, electronics, musical instruments, shoes, software, videos, etc. You name it. Lo Hu City has multiple floors and thousands of shops. The shop girls will grab you by the arm as you walk by and try to drag you into their shops. Be sure to bargain hard as the requested price has nothing to do wioth reality. Some of the finer shops have separate secret back rooms and warehouse where you can see the most blatant contaband. We saw designer bags in a back room that were dead perfect. They came with the “original” warranty cards and retail tags and came with the silk logo bags wrapped around them. This stuff is more avaialble in Lo Hu City than in the real designer shops. I checked at a Hong Kong designer shop for availability of a real bag that my daughter was interested in and was told that this model had been sold out worldwide for a few months. I found it in Shenzhen at Lo Hu city for pennies on the dollar and it was perfect with a capital P.

    Just thought everyone should know.

    RichF

  36. [...] Akihabara, Eat Your Heart Out! I can see 98% of most geeks having some kind of epileptiform seizure if they were to go to a place like this. For the rest of you, enjoy the technological orgy that is the SEG Electronics Market in Shenzhen, China. (tags: awesome akihabara bunniestudios shenzhen china electronics) [...]

  37. [...] I got a couple of emails from folks looking for a link mentioned in an article that ran in the Atlantic Monthly recently. My blog on the SEG electronics center has been shuffled into the archives; you can read it here. [...]

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  39. des says:

    Again, beware of fakes….buy a few, test em out then come back to buy the whole reel etc.

  40. Jim says:

    Now I know why I keep telling the young folks to learn Mandarin. China is where we were in 60′s when electronics was young and full of promise (before the marketing machines like M$ ruined it all); only 100X more interesting because the electronics now available are so sophisticated. Yes, I am GREEN with envy. At my age, companies won’t even talk to me about an electronics engineering job so I am cut off from all the fun. BUT, GO KIDS GO! You’ll love it while it lasts. Just make sure you bank enough for your 40′s! ;-)

  41. Digital Sony says:

    Digital Sony…

    Thanks, Interesting read….

  42. Dmitry says:

    true
    i spend there every holidays

  43. bugati says:

    It was interesting to read

  44. Cheapxbox360 says:

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  45. Bahram Rahimkhani says:

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  46. I’m an American living in Shenzhen and my office is close to SEG. I’d like to find out about more rare and antiquated components or ICs that some of you would like. My company specialized in sourcing and manufacturing of consumer electronics. I’d be happy to help you try to find what you’re looking for if you want. This seems like an interesting phenomenon for many of you and because I haven’t dealt too much on the component level I probably take it for granted. If there’s something on your mind please feel free to contact me at ben.dg :@: szceit.com because I’d be happy to help.

    Regards,
    Ben

  47. Imtiaz Ahmed says:

    Hi everybody

    I am a indenting agent living in china- Shenzhen having a registered company in HK,

    If you want to imoprt any think from china , send send me email
    hope to have good business in future.
    Thanks & Best Regards
    Imtiaz Ahmed
    SMSInfosys
    Moon-HongKong
    Room 1206-7, 12/F, New Victory House,
    93-103 Wing Lok Street, Central,
    HongKong.
    Phone: +852 2201 1021
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    mobile: 69165440
    香港中環永樂街93-103號 ,樹福商業大廈12樓1206-7室,
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  48. Benjamin says:

    please send china wholesale markets details.

  49. Benjamin says:

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  50. Benjamin says:

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  51. [...] Here’s a picture of the fine-pitch SMT rework setup in my hotel room in China. The neat thing is I was able to buy the whole thing on a Saturday afternoon just wandering around the street markets of Shenzhen, where you find electronic parts vendors cheek to jowl with pushcart stands selling gak and girls pushing fake Chinese tax receipts. “Quick! It’s Saturday and you have to solder 0.5mm pitch wires, but you’re in a hotel room and you need to buy equipment! Where do you go? SEG electronics market!” [...]

  52. Johan S says:

    I just came across this blog post. Very well written. It sounds like an amazing place, the idea being able to purchase CCDs off a shelf like that sounds awesome.

  53. Jay says:

    I just went there today but I could not find SEG whole sale building. I went in both directions and around the area. My be I was dumbed. How far is it from the exit A, Hua Qiang metro station? Thanks.

  54. Eric says:

    I have lived in SZ for the past few years and SEG never disappoints for gagetry.

    Here’s a real easy way to find it…when you get out of the metro at HuaQiangBei look up and figure out which building is tallest. SEG is the first 8 floors of that building.

  55. isabella says:

    Hello there….this might be out of the question but I think it’s very important. If you are an American wants to go to SZ from Hongkong , please do not forget the VISA. They will make you buy a visa which is almost $300 ( US dollar) All other citizens buy one time visa which is less than $ 20 .

  56. [...] An amazing sounding Technology Mall in Shenzhen, China. Photos here. Ooh look, there are some videos on You Tube too, it looks awsome, if you’re that way inclined. [...]

  57. zubair says:

    i want idrees of computer markeet because i want buy laptop.thanks

  58. No Sitting says:

    i wish there were places like that in the states

  59. kllp says:

    Did you run across the http://www.gpsteentracking website in your reviews? Love the new real time gps tracker for teen vehicles.

  60. I want to go to China so bad. They have such odd things there.

  61. [...] One thing that’s true about the technology markets in China is that the more you learn about it, the less you find you know. Liam Casey, “Mr. China” himself, and the CEO of PCH, came in and said exactly that our first day on the tour. I had a first-hand experience with that while I was acting as a tour guide of the SEG market in Shenzhen. I knew that the SEG market was big, and that it had a lot of stuff, but somehow I managed to miss the massive mobile phone market for the two years that I had been shopping there. A friend of mine in PCH tipped me off to the market, so at the end of the walking tour of the main market that I was familiar with, we decided to head out and try to find something that none of us, including me had previously seen. [...]

  62. [...] Those who read this blog have probably seen my posts about the markets in Shenzhen. I always had a theory that at some point, the amount of knowledge and the scale of the markets in the area would reach a critical mass where the Chinese would stop being simply workers or copiers, and would take control of their own destiny and become creators and ultimately innovation leaders. I think it has begun — these stories I’m hearing of the shanzai and the mashup they produce are just the beginning of a hockey stick that has the potential to change the way business is done, perhaps not in the US, but certainly in that massive, untapped market often referred to as the “rest of the world”. [...]

  63. Donny T says:

    oh I’ve been there before :) Amazing isn’t it?

  64. Teebo says:

    And I thought I scored big when I went to the Taipei night market & scored 2 Famicom pirate carts, or when I went to Yobodashi in Akihabara. Wonder what the airfare is to over there.

  65. Keith the professional electronic engineer says:

    I’m sure this place would be an interesting place to look around but I don’t see it as that great a deal. For amateur projects, cost of components is usually insignificant compared with the time and effort involved creating a gadget. For professional work, I would not touch these parts with a barge pole. Look at photos 7 and 9. You can see the chips. For proper production, I would want parts that were in dated Mylar bags with a bag of silica gel. In thousands off, and guaranteed supply for n years. These stall owners are the ‘Del Boys’ of the trade. Maybe you got some memory card just as good as the real thing, maybe you bought a factory reject some guy grabbed out the recycling bin. Point is, you don’t know.

    Look at photo 7 – the chips there are jumbled together, this will cause many pins to be bent out of true. Put them through the assembly process reflow oven and many pins will not make contact with the PCB. That will cost you more money correcting problem boards than you would ever save in component cost. I know, I’ve seen this even with European assembly houses.

    RichF has a good take on the scene.

    If you are a serious player then you would not deal with this place, If you are an amateur then you can only save a few dollars on a few units.

    Don’t think you can get the same sorts of bargains in chips as you can with designer labels. Designer clothes have an outrageous mark-up, so it is possible to make a copy of the same quality but without paying loads of money for the brand name. Human greed being as it is, the knock-off artists seldom stop at equal quality.

    If your Rolex clone doesn’t keep good time, then nobody at your cocktail party will notice or care. If your Gucci handbag clone looks a bit shabby inside, then nobody at your cocktail party will notice or care. If your batch of 50,000 pacemakers need recalling many customers will care, and then you are in deep trouble.

    When you are buying from dodgy oriental sources, remember that these are the same people who will be ripping off any successful products you might create. I worked for a hi-fi maker once, and one story was about a manufacturer’s rep that that went over to China to inspect the boards being produced. He noticed they were making functionally identical copies without their brand name. Of course he threw a fit and made them throw every copy they had into a grinding machine. That was just one story, where the rip-off guys were too stupid to hide their crookedness. Most rip offs don’t get noticed.

    It is not a race issue – I am part Chinese myself but raised in the west. It is a cultural issue. The PRC does not clamp down on piracy or butchering dissidents for organ transplants, because they bring in money.

  66. Hex says:

    I live two stone throws away from SEG, first throw gets me to Starbucks, next throw to “SAJGAA” as the dudes say here. Anyone needing anything? The courier place is just opposite Starbucks.
    Samples are mostly free,next step is a bag or a reel or whatever they are packaged in. Shipping is not cheap from here so it got to be a few.

    Another day I needed some plugs to cover a hole, they gave me the sample they had in their display, next day i wanted a few more, had to buy a bag, oh no, I thought, how much? each plug 0,05RMB and 500pcs in a bag so 25RMB, don’t know what to do with the other 480 plugs…

    There are also places at SEG who copies ANYTHING, locked chips, ATMEL, Microchip you name it. 4 layer PCB’s, no problem, like 3D copymachines…

    cpointchina@126.com

  67. This is a nice blog post about china wholesale, but on Sunday I found even more information on Akihabara, Eat Your Heart Out « bunnie’s blog, when I googled china wholesale. Check it out.

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  70. that’s a great post, I live near SEG, and work for the overseas clients who wants buying electronic products or parts from China, we get the products, check the quality for them, and ship on time, that’s my job and my life.

    Now we even opened factory for produce some hot products such like E-cigarettes, buletooth sunglass, spy pen camera, sunglass cinema, and some PDA parts.

  71. wholesale says:

    This is my first time comment at your blog.
    Good recommended website.

  72. Green rose says:

    I’m looking wholesale market for cute and stilysh mobile phone strap and pouch for girls, will i be able to get them at SEG ?

    Any recomendation

    thank you

  73. camera searcerh says:

    Great, great site and very interesting to read. Can anyone tell me if this is the place to find cameras,both still and video from consumer to professional level?

    by the way. Bargain–any tips? is there a 200% drop..400..50…what is the deal?

    Thank You for any help

  74. Dave J says:

    Awesome!
    An equivalent place in Singapore is Sim Lim Tower
    http://www.simlimsquare.com.sg/

    Not nearly as good as SEG looks, but still a great place to wander.

  75. Eric Lee says:

    OMG! I lived in Hong Kong, just across the Chinese Shenzhen boarder when I was a kid and before I am serious about computing. Now I am in Adelaide, Australia which is really slow at getting the resonably new mobo, cpu and gpu, etc… cheap because of a small market. I am in deep jealousy.

  76. income tax says:

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  77. Yoga online says:

    That’s a wonderfull place. Maybe you could write a post about accomodation near this market.

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  79. Andy M says:

    Hi Bunnie,

    I was in Shenzhen a few weeks ago but couldn’t find the bookstore! I must have walked down the wrong street… I kept SEG on the right and walked past all the big department stores (including a Starbucks). Was I going in the right direction?

    Maybe you could post a Google Maps ref pointing out the bookstores?

    Many thanks!
    Andy.

    PS. Have you found a good place in Shenzhen to get IC’s? I can easily get the very common ULN2003′s, etc in SEG (and across the road) but when I ask for a FT232RL they say it will take days…

  80. [...] shops (no thanks!) or wantint to take us on a tour (again, no!). MIML™ really wanted to go to the SEG electronics market. It was mentioned in our Lonely Planet guide and we just assumed people would know where it [...]

  81. Chudo says:

    It is interesting, but still would like to know more about it. They like!

  82. Have a very happy new year :)

  83. Mirza says:

    Wow!
    can I find a courier service near “SEG Electronics” to send Goods.
    Thanks

  84. [...] The key is to attempt to collect both regular and irregular cards in the wild, so I went to the SEG / Hua Qian Bei district and wandered around the markets there. I bought about ten memory cards total from small [...]

  85. [...] The key is to attempt to collect both regular and irregular cards in the wild, so I went to the SEG / Hua Qian Bei district and wandered around the gray markets [...]

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  91. SDDan says:

    Yes this place looks great. Too bad the majority of what you see there is components pulled from e-waste and counterfeit components.

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  94. sell gold says:

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  98. rubas says:

    i am intrested 2 coming shenzhen

  99. Samsung TV says:

    This electronics market is very cool, I wish will come here one time to buy somethings.

  100. Great read. However how can I ensure the quality of these parts? They don’t seem to be in an ESD compliant warehouse =(. Looks like a cool store though.

  101. Marvel Samul says:

    would you recomend the evo or the iphone 4? i cant decide.

  102. babak says:

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  110. [...] street corner stores, they are always on QQ if there’s a computer available. I went to the Shenzhen SEG, and one guy was playing QQ on a cash register that his shop was selling. The full package is [...]

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  112. WangHao says:

    Wow, I’ve been to this place many times. Products there really amazing. It took me 1200 quai to buy an oscilloscope with bandwidth of 25M. BTW, I live in Shenzhen.

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