If you ever visit Shenzhen, China, be sure to stop by HuaQiangBei
Last month I had the pleasure of visiting HuaQiangBei (Chinese: 华强北; pinyin: Huáqiángběi) in Shenzhen during the visit to the Edifier factory. It is a huge area in Shenzhen, China; about 1km in diameter. If you thought geek shopping in Low Yat Plaza or Imbi Plaza was overwhelming, then believe you me, HuaQiangBei will blow you away.
What you see here is one of many electronics malls, frequented by hundreds, if not thousands of people on a daily basis. Each mall is filled with independent retailers each competing with each other, selling pretty much the same thing. In other words, one mall can have a hundred shops selling only smartphones and related accessories, nothing more. The mall beside it would be filled with retailers selling laptops, monitors, computer peripherals and other related accessories. The mall beside that one would sell cameras, and so on. It’s hard to believe the cutthroat competition here, but it’s true, and my pictures don’t lie.
Prices here are, of course, below anything you can find in Malaysia. Out of curiosity, I asked the price for a 4GB USB flash drive. The retailer asked me how many I wanted – implying that they do wholesale bundles – so I said I wanted 20 units. Guess what? Only 25 renminbi each. That’s RM12.50 for a 4GB flash drive – close to half price compared to our local retail stores!
However, some discretion and *very* careful checking is advised – I saw 512GB USB flash drives for sale as well (yes you read that right – five hundred gigabytes), with USB2.0 transfer speeds by Kingston. To my knowledge (as of Nov 2011), that brand does not sell any sort of 512GB flash drive, and thus that retailer must’ve been selling a fake.
All in all, HuaQiangBei is a must-go if you happen to be in Shenzhen. All you need is a wad of cash, and a sharp eye for good deals and bad fakes. You’ll never look at electronics the same again.