• Tencent, the largest messaging service provider in China, is based in Shenzhen.

Tencent, the largest messaging service provider in China, is based in Shenzhen. (Photo : Getty Images)

Shenzhen is a city north of Hong Kong and is a major tech hub found in the Guangdong Province. It is booming as a hardware tech hub but is hard to navigate, mostly because of scammers and hustlers.

With now seven million people, the city thrives in technology manufacturers and sellers. In 1980, the city was declared a special economic zone.

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Many major players in the tech industry are based here. Companies like Tencent, Coolpad, DJI, OnePlus, and Huawei are based in the city.

Since many developers are found in Shenzhen, the city is also referred to as the "Silicon Valley of China."

For hardware shopping, the first place to look is at Huaqiangbei district, located in the sub-district of Futian. In the Huaqiangbei Commercial Street and SEG building, rows of electronics stores are found.

Roger Chang, founder of SwarmX and ex-CEO of Pirate3D also found an engineer in Shenzhen when he was making a circuit board prototype. The cost of prototyping is cheap here at $7.43. Changes that needed to be done only took several days to finish.

This is compared to prototyping in Singapore that costs $297 and takes three weeks to complete.

Dema Tio, the founder of Vibease, suggests that when shopping in Shenzhen, always go to reliable sources. Discuss matters with the owner in person.

Bunnie Huang, the mentor at hardware accelerator HAX, said, "If you go to a factory, and you can't meet and have dinner with the boss, that factory is too big for you."

Other parts can be accessed online through Alibaba or HQPCB.com.

According to Lee Kai Seng, managing director of IoT-focused accelerator AIRmaker, "You will not be able to anticipate all the issues that will pop up, work through them one at a time."

He added, "At the same time, not every manufacturer is out to take advantage of you or copy your product."