When Alex Chen and his brother Harrison wanted to get their ping pong-playing robot up and running, it wasn’t Silicon Valley they turned to for help.
Instead it was Shenzhen, a former fishing village bordering Hong Kong that has the strongest claim to be China’s answer to Silicon Valley. About a thousand startup accelerators are active in the city, drawn by its proximity to factories capable to churning out all manner of gadgets.
“It’s the capital for hardware,” said Duncan Turner, managing director for accelerator Hax. “All the suppliers are here, you’ve got an ecosystem of both manufacturers and also critically, engineering expertise.”
Shenzhen is now home to more than 11 million people and some of China’s most recognizable technology names, including Huawei, Tencent and dronemaker DJI.
— With assistance by Robert Fenner