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The Silicon Valley of hardware

I generally dislike derivative city monikers – such as the title of this blog post. But I appreciate that it quickly gets the point across.

Fusion recently published an interesting article talking about how Shenzhen, China is quickly rising as the hardware innovation capital of the world. Rather than simply serve as the place of production for companies such as Apple, the Chinese government would like to see it serve as a place of creation. In fact, some organizations are suggesting a terminology change from  “Made in China” to “Created in China.”

A big part of the reason for all of this is that Silicon Valley long ago moved “up the stack.” It focused itself on software and internet services, because hardware wasn’t where the margins were. It wasn’t sexy. And so production got moved over to a low cost market. But now, with the rise of IoT, drones, and many other physical products, one could argue that Shenzhen has become highly relevant in the innovation ecosystem.

It’s also important to think about how Shenzhen fits in to the larger Pearl River Delta region. Here is an excerpt from the Fusion article:

“Shenzhen has the geographical footprint of Los Angeles, but a population three times its size at 12 million people. It’s part of the Pearl River Delta, which also includes Hong Kong, the global financial capital and port city; Macau, the world’s largest gambling city; Guangzhou, home to one of China’s major ports, trading centers, and factories; and Dongguan, a manufacturing hub. It’s as if the tech talents of Silicon Valley, the big banks of New York, the manufacturing plants of Detroit and Pittsburgh, the casinos of Las Vegas and the shipping ports of Long Beach were all in one small part of the US, and a two hour drive from one another.”

If you’re interested in this topic – both hardware innovation and the rapidly growing city of Shenzhen – take an hour and watch this documentary from Wired. Embedded below.

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