Shenzhen to Hong Kong on High Speed Rail

Even though Shenzhen and Hong Kong are basically the same city on opposite sides of a border, it’s still a frustratingly long trip to Hong Kong Central for a Reuben at Morty’s Deli. The new high speed rail line linking downtown Shenzhen to downtown Hong Kong makes the trip in just 15 minutes. A lot […]

Taobao breakout boards are a mess part 2

Last week we struggled with mislabeled and faulty breakout boards from Taobao. Fortunately purchases from Shenzhen sellers usually arrive the next day, so we’ve already got a bunch of replacement boards to test. HMC5883L/QMC5883 digital compass Last week our HMC5883L breakout turned out to have a non-compatible QMC5883 chip. We need the genuine part to do […]

How Scotty made his own iPhone in China

Over the past two months we’ve been super excited to follow Scotty’s adventure recycling/refurbishing an iPhone 6S in the used cell phone market just south of Huaqiangbei, Shenzhen, China. Scotty finds all the bits and pieces from various sellers and then follows the iFixit instructions, backwards, to build his own recycled franken-phone. Despite living in […]

CHINA STUFF: Email that works…

Working from China is a constant reminder that the location of internet services is super important. North America and Europe are just a few internet hops from our servers in Hetzner’s carbon neutral, green energy data center in Germany. From China, however, we’re often routed out through Beijing to San Jose, then to New York, […]

Trolling venture capital and the death of Hacker Camp Shenzhen

The sixth and final Hacker Camp Shenzhen begins in a few days. We’ll do the typical tours, market shopping, factory visits, and lots of eating and drinking. There are around 30 purchased tickets, and another dozen repeat campers and locals coming along to help. Hacker Camp has been amazing because of the totally cool people […]

HOW TO: Chinese Driver’s License

China has huge factories, but there’s also thousands of tiny factories hidden away on back streets and in garages. During production of The Expressway we had a lot of down time waiting for molds to heat so we explored the neighborhood. On one tiny road there was a compression molding factory, several gauze factories, several […]

Harmony t-shirt #1: Make a packing tape handle

In Chinese markets it’s super common to carry boxes with an improvised packing tape handle. It’s a simple idea: make four or five tape loops over the top of the box and then crush them together into a handle. Bunnie’s new Huaqiangbei adventure kit even includes ‘please make a tape handle’ in the useful phrases […]

HOW TO: Chinese work permit and residency visa

First we started a Chinese company, then we got a bank account and import export permit. The last major thing is a work permit and residency visa. Americans, Canadians, and soon Australians, all get an automatic 10 year multiple entry visas for China. It’s quite common for foreigners to post up in China for years […]

HOW TO: Shenzhen Spring Festival/Chinese New Year

By 2016 most hackers have some idea that China shuts down for a month every year. If not, learn it: from some time in January to some time in February the world’s largest country and manufacturing capital, one of the biggest economies, closes shop. Nothing is made or shipped. While the whole country celebrates, Shenzhen […]

HOW TO: China import/export permit and company bank

Last week we described the painful process of opening a Chinese company. That was actually the fast and easy part. There’s still a pile of paperwork and months of waiting ahead. This week we look at the proper, and improper, ways to export from China. A Chinese import export permit is permission to exchange foreign […]

HOW TO: Start a Chinese Company

While Shenzhen is becoming “Hollywood for Makers”, and not always in a good way, there don’t seem to be a lot of foreign open hardware/maker/start-up/accelerated/innovated/incubated people starting Chinese companies. As far as we know, we are the first foreign owned open hardware centric Chinese company in Shenzhen. With everything going on here, we definitely wont […]

DP 2016: Live from China!

Today Dangerous Prototypes is a legal Chinese company! 100% legit with import/export license, work permits, visas, and an office in Huaqiangbei (the world’s largest electronics market). It is likely the only Open Hardware centric WFOE (Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise) in Shenzhen, and perhaps China. It took over a year to complete the process, and we […]

Hong Kong/China dual number data SIMs with quality internet

Cross boarder SIM cards from China Mobile and China Unicom promise a single SIM that works in Hong Kong and China. Mobile data networks exit at the SIM card home location, so that means Hong Kong internet while in China. These SIMs are sold by two of China’s biggest state owned phone companies, they’re totally […]

Silicone compression molding factory

In this video Dangerous Prototypes and Pax Instruments visit a silicone molding factory in Shenzhen, China: We recently visited a silicone compression molding factory with our friends at Dangerous Prototypes. This is the same technology used for making our silicone keypads for the T400 temperature datalogger. I put together a short video showing the overall […]

American a pillar of Shenzhen maker culture

Tully Gehan’s home is a maker’s space. The three-room Bao’an district apartment looks more like a factory than a living space. There is a wall of blue boxes filled with electronics, dozens of paper cups with screws and bolts, and a laser-cutting machine in the corner. Gehan, 41, from America, made his own knife rack […]

Touring in Shenzhen series from Alden

Alden over at TenMileSquare posted the next Shenzhen blog post in the series.  This second post of a series discussed about Shenzhen as an Electronics Ecosystem: In our previous post we talked about the markets of Shenzhen. But the markets are just the most visible part of the Shenzhen electronics ecosystem. Other major parts include factories, logistics, […]

On the first day of Taobao Christmas

Taobao, the Chinese shopping site that combines eBay, Amazon, and Alibaba, recently got a lot easier for foreigners to use. As Sjaak documented in his Taobao buying adventures a few years ago, most foreigners use an agency that takes payment via Paypal, purchases your babies, and forwards them to you via DHL or airmail. Even […]