No doubt, when you hear about manufacturing in Asia, the first country that comes to your mind is China. Well, there is a good reason for that, and you are right. China has now become the number one manufacturing country in the world, and many western multinationals now produce most of their products in China.
When you hear China, the cities that pop up in your mind are usually Beijing, Hong Kong, etc. Well, you may be forgiven to think that it’s these cities that are making things happen in China. However, you are wrong, dead wrong.
In not too far past, it used to be a very poor patch of land along the border with between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland.
Today, Shenzhen has become a bubbling hub in China. It has recently had some glowing reviews in the Western media. They tend to focus on the long list of tech companies headquartered in Shenzhen, Huawei, and ZTE (telecommunications equipment, telephones), OnePlus (cell phones), Tencent (the only other Internet Company Alibaba scale in China), DJI (drones)… MakerBot, this famous 3D printing company, was a great advocate of “Made in the USA” … until they moved production to Shenzhen!
About ten years ago, Shenzhen was just manufacturing city. Now it hosts many service/business activities. A new central business district was well planned and feels much better than the one. Most of the petty crime that was endemic in areas of southern China (particularly in the areas where there are many young migrant workers) has disappeared thanks to tens of thousands upon hundreds of good surveillance cameras.
In the Shekou neighborhood, there are a few (but not all are) international schools and a relatively good environment for expats. It is well and smoothly connected with the rest of the city (via subway and also a highway).
Here, the expat community is growing rapidly – some of them come from Shanghai to have cleaner air. Shenzhen now has many newcomers than Hong Kong.
The industrial areas: Bao’an, Guangming, Longhua, Longgang, Pingshan
Some of these areas are relatively still tough, though, especially those areas where Shenzhen massive industrial manufacturing factory are based. There have also been a good number of developments, sprawling up of residential areas, some of them connected to the metro.
Many factories are only 30 minutes away from downtown by car and less than an hour from Hong Kong’s New Territories. That means many managers and engineers can work in Shenzhen, but live in the Hong Kong area they consider decent.
As it is the case in China, labor is cheap and available. As for the local workforce, Most Shenzhen residents are those that even decided to move into the city with the highest wages in China. This means the most hardworking and ambitious young Chinese now flock to this border town.
There is even a huge market for components.
Good connections to Dongguan and Guangzhou (2 train lines), and soon to Hong Kong.