Huaqiangbei is one of the most renowned electronics markets and tech manufacturing neighborhoods in the world.

Located in the Futian district of the southern Chinese megacity Shenzhen, it’s just a stone’s throw away from bustling Hong Kong.

But Huaqiangbei is not exactly how you would picture a typical market to look.

Read on to find out more!

Introducing Huaqiangbei Electronics Market

With Shenzhen’s warm temperatures, you’ll find Huaqiangbei’s market stalls inside large halls lining a giant pedestrianized street.

The market was named Huaqiangbei (华强北), or Huaqiang North, after the name of this street.

Some of the stalls are only about 1 meter wide, but you’d be amazed at how many products they hold.

The floors above these street-level indoor markets are home to workshops and offices where electronics are repaired and refurbished.

The most well-known market area is SEG Electronics Market.

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However, there are plenty of others – which may be there today and gone tomorrow – so I’d recommend just going for a wander and exploring them for yourself.

There’s also a department store called MOI which sells, well, everything you’d expect to find in a department store.

From time to time, well-known brands will have popup shops on the pedestrianized street. So in this sense, there’s something for everyone… as long as you like to shop!

What can you do at Huaqiangbei?

As you’ve probably gathered, buying electronics is the number one thing to do in this area.

Electronics for sale at Huaqiangbei Electronics Market

You can buy all sorts of gadgets at Huaqiangbei Electronics Market. Image by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.

Here are the most common items for sale:

  • Earphones
  • Cell phones
  • Tablets and laptops
  • Sound systems
  • Security systems
  • Electric scooters
  • Smartwatches
  • Drones and cameras
  • E-cigarettes (vapes)
  • Ring lights
  • Hand-held fans
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • VR goggles
  • Games consoles.

There’s also cases for your devices in all different colors and styles. If you can think of it, it’s probably here!

What else is there to do?

If you’re a bit accident prone like me, you can get your electronics repaired at Huaqiangbei Electronics Market.

Your best bet is to find a vendor selling similar products and from there inquire about repairs.

This part of town is also very pleasant for a leisurely stroll. There are flowers adorning the multiple Shenzhen Metro exits, some of which even have free-to-use pianos (the quality of the performances you might get can vary greatly).

Once, I even stumbled upon an entire orchestra playing on this street! I hope you’re just as fortunate.

Are the products real?

Yes, and no.

China is a manufacturing superpower. That is pretty much a universally accepted fact, right? I say that like I know my gadgets.

China also has a penchant for making less-than-authentic products appear real.

Some of the time, Chinese fakes can be almost indistinguishable from their genuine counterparts. Some of the time, these fakes may even be pretty darn good quality!

Fake watches

Buyer beware at the world’s biggest electronics market! Image by hkhtt hj on Shutterstock.

So with that said, I’d simply encourage you to be cautious when making any big or expensive purchases at Huaqiangbei.

I am about as far as you can get from an expert when it comes to technology, so I usually just try to bring along a more tech-savvy friend when I head over here to shop.

Prices at Huaqiangbei Electronics Market

Another thing to pay attention to is the price you pay.

Bartering is perfectly acceptable at Huaqiangbei, but you will get what you pay for. A super-low cost is a good indicator that the item you’re buying is not genuine.

Put simply: if the price for a pair of brand new AirPods seems too good to be true, it probably is!

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If you think something is too expensive, tell the seller: Tài guì le! (太贵了!)

This is a great phrase to add to your repertoire for negotiating a good deal. It means ‘Too expensive!’

Some cool things I’ve bought

While I’ve been living in Shenzhen, I’ve bought a fair few things at Huaqiangbei Electronics Market.

It all started with some knock-off AirPods several years ago. The quality was alright, and they were very cheap. I got to barter for them and I felt like I’d had the Huaqiangbei experience!

Since then, I’ve bought real AirPods, an Apple watch, my phone and a refurbished laptop. All a bit cheaper than they would be in a regular store.

AirPods

I’ve bought both real and fake AirPods at the market. Image by David Levêque on Unsplash.

I do now have a go-to-tech-guy who I always use for buying gadgets, then subsequently getting them repaired when I inevitably break them. I’m extremely clumsy.

Using WeChat and delivery services such as SF, I sometimes don’t even have to physically go to Huaqiangbei to enjoy its offerings. I can place my order directly with the store owner and have it in my hand the next day.

Best time to visit Huaqiangbei

Unlike some tourist attractions, there isn’t really a specific time you should visit Huaqiangbei in order to get the full experience.

Of course, it would be great to visit before Christmas or towards the end of your time in China if you want to grab some last-minute gifts for family and friends.

You’re sure to snap up a bargain at Huaqiangbei on November 11. This is China’s biggest shopping holiday, and also one of the country’s many Valentine’s Days.

Personally, I’ve always been a big fan of visiting this neck of the woods in the evening, when the place is lit up and the air is a little cooler. I find there is a bit more atmosphere at this time of day too.

How to get to Huaqiangbei

Huaqiangbei Electronics Market covers an area of almost 1.5 square kilometers and is serviced by a few metro stations each with multiple exits.

The easiest routes to take are line 2 or line 7 to Huaqiang North station, or line 1 to Huaqiang Road station. From either of these stops, Shenzhen’s tech paradise is just a short walk away.

Huaqiangbei pedestrian area

The Huaqiangbei pedestrian area. Image by JoeyCheung on Shutterstock.

There are many bus routes passing through this part of town. I’d suggest checking your phone’s map app for to find the most time efficient route for you.

You can also take a taxi there. Generally speaking, taxis are relatively cheap in China. So if you’re travelling with a few friends, this is always a good option.

What else is around?

In China, you’re never too far from a mall.

Century Place shopping mall, just a few blocks away, is a pretty comprehensive stop to grab clothes, a bite to eat and even some Western groceries.

My first job in China was in this mall. New shops, cafes and restaurants are always coming and going, which is both a blessing and a curse for a Shenzhen expat like me.

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If you’re looking for a break from Chinese fare, you can find Turkish and Indian food within walking distance of Huaqiangbei. Your usual fast-food chains are always nearby too.

Of course, I’d also encourage you to check out some of the street food on offer along the way. Who knows, you could even find your new favorite snack!

During cooler months in Shenzhen, you might prefer to enjoy your time outside. Lychee Park is only around 15-20 minutes away from Huaqiangbei on foot.

And finally, a bit of history

SEG Plaza is a 957 ft skyscraper in Huaqiangbei.

The building made global headlines in 2021, after videos circulated online of it swaying while residents and employees were evacuated to safety.

Nobody was hurt and the relevant authorities soon figured out the cause of the shaking and quickly made changes to rectify it.

I don’t think I would have liked being on the 72nd floor when it happened!

Enjoy your time at Huaqiangbei Electronics Market

If you have the time during your visit to Shenzhen, I’d definitely recommend stopping by Huaqiangbei Electronics Market.

You don’t need to spend too long here, or even buy anything, but I think it’s worth it just to understand the sheer scope of the place.

Have a great time exploring, and don’t forget to bargain!

Have you ever visited Huaqiangbei Electronics Market? What did you think of it and did you buy anything cool?

Next, read my article about Shekou, an amazing neighborhood in Shenzhen. Or, check out all the things you can do in Shenzhen.

Main image credit: EQRoy on Shutterstock.