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Shenzhen playing a strong hand in the global IoT game

Chinese Special Economic Zone of Shenzhen is set to become a global hub for IoT hardware manufacturing. This thriving metropolis of an estimated 14 million people – just 40km outside Hong Kong – and has already made big waves in the IoT world as an attractive spot for entrepreneurial manufacturing, especially for IoT-related companies.

Shenzhen has grown considerably over the past several years, and its history in the manufacturing world makes it an ideal place to find talented innovators to help shape the future of the IoT market. For startups, it offers a range of unique benefits including giving businesses access to vital IoT-specific components needed for product development, as well as an experienced workforce that knows the technologies and has the ability to fast-track manufacturing.

This creates a win-win for IoT accelerators based in the region, as they can attract startups and use the resources of Shenzhen to help them bring their product ideas to life.

“It’s no secret that over the past five-plus years, the infrastructure, talent, and investment dollars in Shenzhen have grown dramatically,” says Kyle Ellicott, co-founder and chief of labs at Wearable IoT World Labs, an accelerator launching their first Asian cohort this week.

“More people, including many entrepreneurs are leaving their respected homes to be based here so they can be closer to their partners or to be apart of the area’s growth,” he adds. “It’s similar to the way people move from around the world to Silicon Valley to be in the heart of global innovation. There’s no better starting point in China like it right now if you want to move from idea to production quickly.”

His lab’s first class is in Hong Kong, but he says they’re quickly filling up their first Shenzhen class.

Shenzhen is a lively place to start a company since it’s rich in many resources,” he says. “That’s why we choose to place our second class there later this year, and it’s already generating a ton of interest.”

For startups and mature companies alike, by basing themselves in the heart of the IoT manufacturing world, they can work directly with the manufacturer, rather than managing the operation from across the globe. They also gain the advantages of more cost-efficient operation and focus on what’s most important: the product.

Shenzhen already attracting IoT attention

There are several big names in the IoT world already located in Shenzhen. Among them is DJI, the makers of some of the most popular camera drones including the Phantom and Inspire. MakerBot, a leading brand in 3D printing, also calls Shenzhen its home.

This is in addition to Foxconn, one of the largest manufacturing businesses in the world, which opened its first Chinese plant in Longhua Town, Shenzhen – where many of the world’s gadgets, including Apple’s top-selling products, are made.

Wearable IoT World Labs’ Ellicott says Shenzhen and Hong Kong’s synergies that make both cities key sections of what his firm calls the pan-Asian “IoT superhighway.”

“When assessing the IoT landscape, both Hong Kong and Shenzhen have pivotal roles, but we’re approaching the region’s IoT ecosystem in an holistic way,” he says. “Each of the neighboring countries has individual strength, resources, and focus to offer.”

He points out while Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Singapore have smart cities focuses in their planning and manufacturing efforts, Shenzhen is also a center for automotive technology, too. The Philippines and Singapore are also strong in next-generation agricultural technologies. 

With all this activity, Shenzhen is an appealing spot for IoT manufacturing and development for the region, and with the IoT category growing by leaps and bounds with no easing in sight, the next several years could be very important for the region.

Disclaimer: ReadWrite is owned by Wearable IoT World, which also owns Wearable IoT World Labs.

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