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As a Shenzhen local, I'd consider this video one of very few that present a 100% accurate view of the local hardware and market culture. It's very well done and everything he says is correct and that's unusual.



That really means a lot, especially coming from you. I tried really, really hard to accurately portray Shenzhen and the markets, and it's nice to hear from a local maker that I've at least partly succeeded. Thank you:)


I'd say the same as someone who lives in Hong Kong and travels to Shenzhen with some frequency.

With one caveat, those folks selling parts definitely treats me with a lot less friendliness than they do with foreign buyers, especially when you're buying just one.

There are also varying level of quality when buying parts, especially batteries and screens. It's hard for repair shops in the area to charge higher prices for better parts, so there's definitely a huge market for screens that's slightly mis-calibrated, has a non-noticeable dead pixel and such. Customers in the area generally care less about those kind of quality.


> With one caveat, those folks selling parts definitely treats me with a lot less friendliness than they do with foreign buyers, especially when you're buying just one.

Yeah, that really sucks. There's definitely a lot of pretty apparent white privilege here, which I try to be really aware of and not take unfair advantage of. But it can be tricky to navigate at times.


>Yeah, that really sucks. There's definitely a lot of pretty apparent white privilege here, which I try to be really aware of and not take unfair advantage of. But it can be tricky to navigate at times.

Trust me- they treat me better than they treat you:P There are other cases where White makers/hardware people can be a bit problematic on the local scene, but not so much in the markets. I've seen African, Middle Eastern traders accommodated in much the same way. And the good treatment probably comes with a slight markup so evens out in the end.


Hey I've seen your work posted on /r/cyberpunk, you make awesome stuff!


Wow, like the other posters, I was impressed with your accurate portrayal of Shenzhen.

But I do have to say this comment surprises me even more as many of the expats I've met are either blind to or aren't willing to admit there is white privilege there (and other parts of Asia).

I'm really glad there are people like you as our "ambassadors."


Off topic but What is that fried layered egg roll up thing around 9:46 in the video? It looks pretty great and I want to try to find/make one.


In China, it's called an "Egg Pancake"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QSivyUEQIY


Never been to Shenzhen but as a Malaysian, it looks a lot like a roti canai, which is an Indian-influenced flatbread. There are frozen ones sold internationally (I've personally seen them in grocery stores in the UK and South Korea) so they may be available where you are. It might be called either roti canai or roti paratha on the packaging.


Totally unrelated but I loved your Hikaru Skirt and made one for my gf back then as a bday present (to go to a Vocalid live). It helped me to design and hide a small box and get similar electronics.


>Totally unrelated but I loved your Hikaru Skirt and made one for my gf back then as a bday present (to go to a Vocalid live). It helped me to design and hide a small box and get similar electronics.

Great to hear:-)


That's great to hear that it's accurate!

As an American, what differences do you see in the electronics community now that you're an expat in China?


I think one of the huge differences in east vs west electronics/maker/hacker communities is the approach of DIY vs using production services. In the US, as a hobbyist with a limited budget, if you want to have a PCB made, you either send it off to OSH Park and wait weeks, or you try and make it yourself and get pretty low quality results. Here in Shenzhen, nobody even considers it. You upload the file to professional board house, and standard turn around is 3-4 days. For $30 more, you can get 24-hour turnaround.

So there's just this really different approach of "what can I make myself with the tools I own" versus "what professional services do I have access to, and which of my friends have factories with the right production equipment".

As a result, you see stark difference in quality of initial prototypes.

The flip side is that I think western makers/hackers are more focused on coming up with completely new ideas, with less of a focus on quality of execution, whereas a lot of chinese makers/hackers/manufacturers are more focused on iterative improvement - how can I be really clever to make something cheaper or easier to produce, that looks like a professional product. Both sides are very clever and creative, but focus on different aspects.


>The flip side is that I think western makers/hackers are more focused on coming up with completely new ideas, with less of a focus on quality of execution, whereas a lot of chinese makers/hackers/manufacturers are more focused on iterative improvement - how can I be really clever to make something cheaper or easier to produce, that looks like a professional product. Both sides are very clever and creative, but focus on different aspects.

Yes, I agree


except for the part about the ease of repairing and iphone




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