Randomness (r_ness) wrote,

Electronics tour of Asia?

Many have heard of Tokyo's Akihabara Electrical Town. I suspect, though, that fewer people have heard of either Yongsan Electronics Market in Seoul or SEG Electronics Market in Shenzhen.

Here's a description of that last one (from http://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?p=147):
As I first step foot into the building, I am assaulted by a whirlwind of electronic components. Tapes and reels of resistors and capacitors, ICs of every type, inductors, relays, pogo pin test points, voltmeters, trays of memories, all crammed into tiny six-by-three foot booths with a storekeeper poking away at a laptop, sometimes playing Go, sometimes counting parts. Some booths are true mom-and-pop shops, with mothers tending to babies and kids playing in the aisles.

And it’s not like, oh, you can get ten of these LEDs or a couple of these relays like you do in Akihabara. No, no. These booths specialize and if you see something you like, you can usually buy several tubes, trays or reels of it–you can go into production the next day.

Stacks of power supplies, varistors, batteries; ROM programmers. Atmel, Intel, Broadcom, Samsung, Yamaha, Sony, AMD, Fujitsu, every variety of chip. Some of them clearly ripped out of used equipment and remarked, some of them in brand new laser-marked OEM packaging.

Chips that I couldn’t dream of buying in the US, reels of rare ceramic capacitors that I only dream about at night. My senses tingle, my head spins. I can’t supress a smirk of anticipation as I walk around the next corner, to see shops stacked floor to ceiling with probably a hundred million resistors and capacitors.

All of this available for a little haggling, a bit of cash, and a hasty goodbye. This is Digikey gone mad. It’s as if they let the monkeys into the warehouse at Thief River Falls, Minnesota and spilled it into a flea market in China, and then some.

And that’s just the first two floors. Six more floors of computer components, systems, laptops, motherboards, digital cameras, security cameras, thumb drives, mice, video cameras, high end graphics cards, flat panel displays, shredders, lamps, projectors, you name it.
One of the commenters says:
It is a whole district with a few buildings full of these stores. Yes, “Buildings”. To name a few, there are SEG Square electronics market building. Hua Qiang electronics world building and also other small building the specialized in cell phone parts. It may not make you rich but can definitely help you to kill a lot of time there. The more experience and knowledgeable in electronics/computing/telecom parts, the more surprises you will get. If you are a real nerd, just like me, you can kill a few weeks there, just like when your first time visiting the NY or British Museum. It is definitely the mecca for any electronics hobbyist. You can easily start any business, build any electronics products in no time. If you know what you are doing. In the cell phone parts building, you have the selections of different parts and also semi-finished (SKD) parts. Just tell them what you needed and they build one for you. Maybe one quarter of the price of an off the shelf similar products but it will not pass any safety test and will not come with any warranty, as usual. Not to mentioned that there are wholesale shops that sell finished products.
Another adds an important warning, which anyone who buys anything in China should remember:
One thing to note. Those Kingston memory modules that were being put into “retail packages” were almost certainly not real Kingston modules. In Shenzhen, like all over China, copies and fakes are everywhere. Sometimes the copy is just as good as the original and it is almost impossible to tell the difference. Other times the parts sold are “overstock”, meaning they are made in the same factory as the original parts and are the same in every way. We call this “fourth shift” production. The original brand never sees a dime from the sale of his branded product. But beware of fakes that are completly mislabeled. For example, you will see flash memory drives labelled 4 GB and when you put them in the seller’s notebook, they show up as 4 GB, but when you get them back to your hotel you will find a nice virus as a gift and when you format the drive, it tuens out to be 256 K. I am not kidding. Also, you will see Products labelled as Sony, Apple, and the like that Sony and Apple never developed. These folks will blindly put anyone’s logo on anything. In fact, in one both we bought some music players and the seller offered to put various different logos on them for us. We could have Apple, Sony and about six other brands.
File under: Another idea for a tour I could do, to go along with the fabric tour of the world.
Tags: travel
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