Huaqiangbei, the biggest electronics market in the world — Shenzhen, China
Some call it geek’s heaven, others, a super-hub for technology and gadgets, at China Facture, we call it paradise. It is the world’s greatest electronic market and anything you might wish for, can be found there. On the other hand, it takes courage and preparation to go to Huaqiangbei and find exactly what you are looking for, at the best price.
Pronounced huá qiáng běi, the huge complex of buildings is located right next to Huaqiang Lu Metro Station. This giant multi-floor shopping mall is characterized by its constant movement of people and by the millions of products exposed on each section. Each floor or section specializes on a certain component, gadget, or product of various sorts.
As this is a world of its own, it is important that you know how to make your way in it. We certainly hope the following tips will help you get out of there with a feeling of accomplishment and not an empty pocket.
Take your time
Huaqiangbei is a huge marketplace where you will find basically everything. From electronic components, shanzhai smartphones, gadgets, anything you can think of, will be there. Therefore, it is important that you go with lots of time on your hands. Time to browse, explore, ask, make friends, negotiate, and discover the place.
More is always better
At HQB market, it is essential for vendors to sell in big quantities, meaning wholesale. They will, of course, give you paid samples for a higher price, however, if you want to buy cheaper, bear in mind that you will need to buy more of what you are getting.
Compare various vendors of the same product
If you get to HQB with a clear idea of what you need, go to that section or floor and, before getting all excited and buying anything that comes your way, compare prices and, more importantly, quality of the products. They might look the same, but sometimes, small details, like corners, finishing or presentation, can make a world of a difference.
Be ready to pay with WeChat
We’ve talked about this before. WeChat is one of the most important business tools you can have when working with the Chinese market. Make sure you have it all set up in order to pay with the app, as well as to exchange contacts with the vendors. This will gain you their trust as they feel safer using the app as a payment method.
Use your Guanxi
You should know the basics in Chinese by now, right? If you don’t, we suggest you learn at least three or four words in order to salute, say goodbye, thank people and also ask for a receipt. These actions will reveal to them how much you respect their culture, so be nice and make questions. Say what you like about the product, try to communicate using a translation app (wechat is great for this). Once you have their contact on your WeChat, it will be much easier to negotiate prices and have access to more information about their product.
Here are some basic words:
Like any other market, HQB is known for its inflated prices when you buy in low quantities. Once you have checked all the vendors and selected the ones you are interested in, gain their acceptance and trust, then negotiate respectfully. Remember Chinese take their business very seriously, so show them numbers and don’t give up until you’ve at least lower the price 20%.
Be aware this is a street market
It is very, very, very common to get ripped off in HQB. Go there with an open mind and remember you get what you pay for. If you find an excellent gadget (at least on the outside), for an unbelievable price, chances are it will not function well for a long time. If you are buying expecting a guarantee, make sure you are getting the original brand and not a copy. Also, when buying a smartphone, make sure you can install or unlock other languages on it as it will probably be in Chinese (quite tricky to figure out). Check everything carefully before you pay, as returning faulty or misleading goods is almost impossible.
If possible, go with a local
Use your resources well. If you have a Chinese friend or business partner, and you are seriously committed to buying quality items, take them with you to translate and guide you through the market. It will improve the probabilities of getting what you want at the best price.
We also recommend going along just to enjoy the fascinating world of one of the most amazing tech markets in the world.