The IoT sector has found its center of gravity in a city far away from Silicon Valley, in the bustling, southern Chinese Special Economic Zone of Shenzhen. The China city with a population of approximately 14 million had a special identity as an entrepreneurial manufacturing hub, more recently it has become the darling of IoT entrepreneurs from around the world.
To many in the U.S. and Europe, Shenzhen is not a familiar name, but increasingly, people are learning and making the move to this buzzing mecca.
Silicon Valley attracts software programmers and coders from around the world. Shenzhen attracts those who make hardware, tinker with devices and create at the intersection of technology and objects.
Perhaps one of the more notable examples of Shenzhen’s growing influence was when Zach Smith, the New York based founder of Makerbot and a 3D printing pioneer moved from New York to make Shenzhen his new home. Or consider DJI, the drone manufacturer, which many consider to be a leader in its sector, which is headquartered in Shenzhen.
Shenzhen-based HAX is the world’s largest hardware accelerator, and their General Partner Benjamin Joffe explains it well.
“The reason why HAX is based in Shenzhen and not Hong Kong is because of the immediate access to the components market for prototyping and to the manufacturing ecosystem and know-how. It’s immediate, cheaper and faster. It’s literally one click away.’”
Still, Joffe admits that Hong Kong
“has the benefits of a first world capital: Open Internet, international workforce, rule of law, widespread English and first-world lifestyle. It is probably suitable for more mature operations than early stage startups.”