Walking Through Shenzhen

A few pictures from the electronics market in Shenzhen, China.

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The tour continues! On Sunday was the expedition to the Shenzhen electronics market called 'SEG'. We've heard many amazing things about this place - it was time to really check it out.

Tom, Leah, and Wendell checking out the map.


The number of tall buildings and construction is astounding. Most looked like this one with a crane, lots and lots of bamboo scaffolding, and green cloth mesh. Tens of stories tall - who needs metal?

Did I mention they are building?


The electronics market was heaven. Like a kid in a candy store. Absolutely crazy. Thousands of people bustling through a very tightly packed space.

Candy. Candy. Candy!



The first building was 8 floors of wall to wall vendors. 8 floors! And that was only one building. I think I made it through three buildings before my head started to split open.


After the market, Leah, Tom and I walked around Shenzhen a bit just taking everything in. The architecture is pretty amazing considering the city was only started in the 1980s. Unfortunately the air pollution is so bad it always looks like it's going to rain when you walk outside. I swear these buildings go on as forever, but you simply cannot see them because of the haze. It's bad.


More factory tours today! Be sure to keep an eye on the gang's flikr accounts as photos go up.

Comments 27 comments

  • "Nee how maa" (hello in Chinese). Awesome! As you said, like in a candy store. Love it! :)
    On the other side, too sad all that pollution. Even sadder is to think that is 'their' problem only. After all we all are on the same ball of dirt called earth.. :( too bad.
    @Nate/all: I am a HUGE fan of SFE and of working with electronics. Is there something we all can do/start in order to reduce sending stuff to China and build them here in the US? I see the situation now as a great opportunity to bring things back and start something great here reducing the harm to our planet. Comments anybody?

    • macetech / about 15 years ago / 1

      Nothing that hobbyists do as far as production choice is concerned will actually help the situation. It might make you feel better, but that's about it. Hobbyists are just along for the ride, if you want change then you need to have a movement that affects purchasing decisions for billions upon billions of electronic components and devices sold. You can make boards yourself, but even simple etching not to mention plating will involve chemicals harmful to the environment, and you probably have worse disposal facilities than most companies. A lot of PCB fabs are actually reclaiming etched copper in solution, so it can be economical to remove pollutants. More ideas like that are what will reduce impact of these processes.

  • June / about 15 years ago / 2

    OMG! It looks SO MUCH like Akihabara when I was in Japan a few months ago -- have fun guys! Hopefully I can follow later on in the year. =o)

  • charliex / about 15 years ago / 1

    I really want to go, Akihabara was amazing when i went in the early 90's and by all accounts Shenzhen is something else. though i hear a lot of the stuff can be subpar quality, rejects etc. Still its just fascinating to go and see it.
    I'd imagine that i'd be shipping a box of junk home though.
    Looks like the rest of the work outsourced its pollution.

  • Pathogen-David / about 15 years ago / 1

    (@4th picture) That is beautiful crys from happyness

  • Rubi / about 15 years ago / 1

    Do yourself a favour and buy a Transistor Gayitsu magazine.
    This electronic mag is unbelievable. A shame there is no english translation available.

  • CTPCTP / about 15 years ago / 1

    I'm pretty jealous you guys!!! Have fun for me!!!

  • MikeYancey / about 15 years ago / 1

    Just went on an adoption trip to China this past July '08. Got to go to some 'end-user' electronics stores, including some tube-hi-fi spots, but not the component-level electronic items (dang!).
    I was surprised to find Ham radio items (Yaesu, Kenwood and Icom) in a few stores, along with some local brands.
    USB sticks, cameras, lenses; couldn't really find any cheaper than a good store (or online) in the USA. Got a Canon camera bag for about $5, though. Portable DVD players were still quite expensive (about $200), but in the US, these are $69 to $89.
    Fewer pirate movies (that I could find), although Spongebob and other cartoons are sold in bundles (in sort of large, book-albums of DVDs).
    The air and the water are difficult to get used to - if at all. We have no idea how good we have it in western countries. The people there are great though.
    Mike Y
    Dallas, Texas

  • Calif / about 15 years ago / 1

    What a contrast to US. Electronic parts stores in China are like mortgage brokers in US. They're everywhere. If Sparkfun was in Hong Kong you'd be the Donald Trump of China.

  • TheDoc / about 15 years ago / 1

    What a cool trip you guys! I'm feeling somewhat tempted to go myself.. What a heaven indeed!

  • Rubi / about 15 years ago / 1

    Be sure to keep an eye on the gang's flikr accounts
    Where can I find these accounts ?

  • lucky / about 15 years ago / 1

    nice trip; i kind of need a chinese contact to help me buy electronics components from China. Can anybody helps? Many thanks. Have a nice day!

  • Welcometoshenzhen / about 15 years ago / 1

    Well,the air in shenzhen is nice .It's a little bit cloudy this days, You should see blue sky most of the time.

  • Rubi / about 15 years ago / 1

    The pictures remind me a bit at Hamradio exhibitions like Dayton or Friedrichshafen. But however they seem to be smaller. What I always wonder is, how much moneys you can spend at connectors and similar stuff,...

  • jandirks / about 15 years ago / 1

    Nate, can't you confiscate one or two of these buildings and keep them as your warehouse?

    • My pack is full of goodies (tweezers, USB bar code scanner, multimeter, bluetooth usb, puzzles from hong kong, gifts etc, etc), but I'll see if I fold in the buildings.

  • Mrb0y / about 15 years ago / 1

    Nice, looks like the ultimate geek trip for sure! I'm new so I don't have the any of your traveling partner's flickr account links? Could you post them so I can enjoy your trip via the comfort of my couch. :) Very much appreciate your posts!

  • micro_engineer / about 15 years ago / 1

    Look nice (except for the pollution). Were the vendors selling in small quantities or only large?

    • Actually, most vendors are happy to sell in single unit quantities. I'm sure I got horribly expensive pricing, but many $1 and $2USD parts are less than $0.25 in single units. The vendors are really reps for the factories and they're hoping to sell 1000s.

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