The cheap prices of electronics in Shenzhen have been attracting penny-pinching Hong Kongers for years but now tourists, unimpressed by the small savings on electronics available in Hong Kong, have started venturing north of the border to take advantage of the cheaper price tags. For the best selection, head straight to the massive, and at times overwhelming, SEG Electronics Market.
About SEG Market
Reckoned by some to be the biggest market of its kind on the globe, this is a supersized version of Hong Kong's many computer markets. The SEG Electronics Market is officially on the first ten floors of SEG Plaza, named for the Shenzhen Electronics Group. However, SEG Electronics Market and SEG Market are also used to reference the area surrounding the Plaza building. It’s impossible to accurately estimate the number of sellers but it is certainly in the high hundreds. The fact that stalls are run as a small business is what keeps prices here so keen—each shop is in cut-throat competition to attract buyers.
What to Buy
On sale, you’ll find everything from knock-off microchips to well-known Apple products. If it runs on electricity, you’ll be able to find it there, from iPads and headphones to flat screen TVs and Blu-Ray players to Playstations and VR headsets. However, the market's true specialty is computer products, including an almost endless supply of laptops new and old, video cards, monitors, and other hardware. If you've ever had an interest in building your own computer you'll be able to buy everything you need right at the SEG Market. It's also an excellent place to pick up camera equipment, although many buyers still prefer Hong Kong. While the selection tends to favor domestic brands goods, international brands are also easy to pick up. While large sections of the market are aimed at wholesale buyers, there are more than enough retailers selling to the public to fill any tech head's suitcase.
How to Visit
Be prepared for a flurry of activity as soon as you set foot inside a market. There are countless stalls and vendors trying to make sales and it's easy to get overwhelmed if you're not prepared. If you're only interested in browsing, enjoy your time checking out the wares, but if you want something specific come prepared. It may also help to know the Chinese name of what you want. That way you can ask for assistance finding your items. Vendors should know enough English to complete a sale, but a basic knowledge of Mandarin will certainly help.
The market can be found on Huaqiang Bei Lu and is best accessed by metro to Huaqiang North Station on Line 2 (orange) or Huaqiang Road Station on Line 1 (green).
SEG Electronics Market is cheap, but don’t expect a steal. Online retailers in the U.S. and Europe are already very aggressive in offering deep discounts, so don't expect to see prices cut in half on branded products. Hardware for computers is probably the most competitively priced area, especially video cards, monitors, and other equipment used to upgrade a desktop computer.
It is possible to get ripped off. Tourist prices, limited warranties, and a language barrier are just some of the problems you’re likely to face when buying products at SEG. If you are buying Apple, Microsoft, or other branded software, be sure to verify the language installed on the device. Some products can be switched from Chinese to English, but not all of them. In some cases, sellers will attempt to upsell you a language pack after you have purchased the product and found it's locked to Chinese.
Make sure branded products are authentic. Misleading packaging and word plays are common—check everything carefully before you pay, as returning faulty or misleading goods is almost impossible.