Between baskets filled with hard drives, memory sticks, LED lights and countless other bits of technology hardware, Jason Gui found what he was looking for: a handful of tiny batteries.
His business partner, Tiantian Zhang, whipped out her phone to pay for them via WeChat, the all-in-one messaging and payments app ubiquitous in China, and transferred about 4 yuan, or $0.60, for each battery.
The bustling wholesale market with its rows of vendors is part of Huaqiangbei, a subdistrict in the Chinese city of Shenzhen that has become known as the “Silicon Valley of hardware.”
For Gui, it’s better than that.
Silicon Valley was “a little bit slow for us,” Gui said over his workstation at Hax, a startup incubator in Shenzhen. “If you were to do this in the U.S., you would just be importing the same materials from China anyway.”