Wow, have we been busy since our last update! Here are some highlights:
- Launched Arduboy on Kickstarter!
- Exhibited at Maker Faires in San Francisco, Shenzhen, New York and Rome!
- Launched the official Tetris MicroCard!
On our most recent trip to China we took some cell phone video while we were running around the markets and we wanted to share it with you. The editing is really basic, and a lot of the shots are out of focus, but the footage doesn’t do anyone any good sitting inside my phone, so here it is!
The markets in Huaqiangbei are virtually impossible to describe, tough to show in photos and videos don’t do it justice. If you are making hardware electronics of any kind, you’ve just got to go. Nearly 90% of the worlds electronics products are manufactured in area surrounding Shenzhen. Foxconn, Xaomi, Huawei and any other manufacturer you’ve heard of all have a massive presence here.
The electronics market is a nearly endless collection of individual booths staffed by one or two people. It’s not uncommon to see them watching their children while they work on weekends. Each booth specializes in one product, like buttons, capacitors, power sockets, you name it. Within each building there are hundreds of booths and all of the booths on a floor tend to sell the same type of equipment.
There are multiple 6 story buildings that are dedicated entirely to selling LED’s. There are individual hole-in-the-wall booths that have more stock of some random component than all of Mouser and Digikey supplied. These bosses (laoban in mandarin) are so familiar with the products that you only need to show them a picture or sample of a component you want to buy and they will know exactly what you like. Part numbers work too, but it’s not like western markets here.
You might be wondering whenever you order something from China why is it wrapped in yellow tape and all beat up? Well because logistics involves a lot of informal handoffs between different shipping agents from each booth eventually to an international carrier. It’s not uncommon to see packages falling off of carts and spilling into streets, or children jumping on top of boxes. It’s one of the most wild places I’ve ever been!
I’m by far not even close to the first person to discover how amazing the markets can be. Dangerous Prototypes and bunnie both have written some excellent posts about the markets. Shout out to both Ian, Jin, and bunnie because without them Arduboy would not be possible!