Shenzhen – The new hardware and electronics shopping Mecca?
Going to Tokyo or Taipei to find fancy electronics? If your local electronics mall doesn't have what you want, or not at the price you want, try Shenzhen's Huaqiang Road first – it's likely much cheaper with wide choices, and just a budget flight away…
Huaqiang Road instead of Akihabara
For quite a long time now, it is Far Eastern cities that have the largest, glitziest and choicest computer and electronics shopping malls around. While the tradition started in US and Europe long before, it's here now that every major city has a full fledge 'electronics district' with multiple large centres covering everything from consumer electronics to computers and components. Singapore's combined Sim Lim Square + Tower may look small compared to Shanghai's Xujiahui or one of Seoul's multiple 'digital complexes', not to mention the old champion, Tokyo Akihabara.
The roughly half a mile of length of Huaqiang North road street level between these two metro stations contains about a dozen electronics malls of different sizes, with the two largest ones – SEG Plaza and the Huaqiang Electronic World – being million square-ft sized gigantic establishments. SEG Plaza, topped up by a 72 storey 354 m tower. The rest of the malls, along the main street, as well as another dozen or so malls in the back alleys, focus more on specific areas, like only communication electronics, mobile phone accessories, or security products, or batteries, or LED displays, and so on.
The higher floors will normally house the same stuff you'll find on floors 4, 5 and 6 of Sim Lim Square in Singapore, or Low Yat Plaza in KL. There are all the mainboards, cases, monitors, enclosures with PSUs and such. You'll find the same high end offerings too, just like here. The difference? Many things are cheaper, especially things like enclosures and, yes, monitors. A miniITX casing with PSU here will cost you some 30 singapore dollars cash and carry, while a 24-inch 16:10 format (!) Samsung LED-backlit super slim LCD monitor will go for around S$ 250 or so. For the parts such as memories and disks, usually the price will be slightly lower than here, but there were cases where, on the first inquiry, some vendors will try to play too smart with high prices. Note that a little bit of haggling is expected anyway, but only that much literally – little bit as in able to squeeze prices by maybe 10% on average. Electronics is quite a challenging business to make high margins anyway…
Either way, SEG Plaza and the Huaqiang Electronic World will pretty much take you most of one day – the other day should be there to check the smaller malls and their oddity of things on offer. The places are so huge, there is so much on offer, and with very special offers for things you'd never think you could find – whether it's a super custom cellphone enhancement, or an odd chip from days gone by, or parts for your own home radar – this is the next mecca for electronics afficionados.