Archive for the ‘Shanzhai’ Category
The reclaiming of used components isn’t the only notable activity in Shenzhen’s electronics district. Throughout the busy halls and corridors of several huge buildings I observed an entire process culminating in the (re)birth of phones.
In a somewhat hidden corner of Hua Qiang Bei there’s two large buildings that are mainly dedicated to the recycling of cellphones. These though aren’t the same as the cellphone malls found in the districts’ main street. Here cellphones are traded as a commodity or even as a raw material. Hundreds of small companies work with (and against) each other to squeeze every bit of value out of yesterdays mobile phones.
When visiting Shenzhen everybody tells you about the insanely explosive growth of the city which supposedly went from 30.000 people to 14 million in 30 years. Part of that growth is driven by the worlds technolust as Shenzhen is the main city in China’s ‘Special Economic Zone’ where a sizable part of the worlds electronics are manufactured. People from all over the world come to the enormous Hua Qiang Bei electronic district for good wholesale prices on components or complete products. This is by far the biggest market of its kind I have encountered and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is the worlds largest.
While on a trip to Beijing in 2008 I walked into a huge building to find a thriving indoor market with every shop dedicated to mobile phones and phone related products. There are rows upon rows small stores, many selling both single units to locals and wholesale to traders from the surrounding province. Judging by the sizable number of well equipped workshops this is also a good place to get phones repaired.