Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware (Full Documentary) | Future Cities | WIRED

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  • Published on:  Tuesday, July 5, 2016
  • Future Cities, a full-length documentary strand from WIRED Video, takes us inside the bustling Chinese city of Shenzhen. Subscribe to WIRED►► examine the unique manufacturing ecosystem that has emerged, gaining access to the world’s leading hardware-prototyping culture whilst challenging misconceptions from the west. The film looks at how the evolution of “Shanzhai” – or copycat manufacturing – has transformed traditional models of business, distribution and innovation, and asks what the rest of the world can learn from this so-called “Silicon Valley of hardware".ABOUT FUTURE CITIESFuture Cities is part of a new flagship documentary strand from WIRED Video that explores the technologies, trends and ideas that are changing our world. Subscribe to the WIRED YouTube channel to ensure you never miss an episode.HOLY LAND: STARTUP NATIONS (SERIES 2)Premiering in February, the second season of WIRED’s Future Cities series takes us inside one of the world’s biggest startup nations. With the most tech startups and venture capital per capita in the world, Israel has long been hailed as The Startup Nation. WIRED’s four-part series will look beyond Tel Aviv’s vibrant, liberal tech epicentre to the wider Holy Land region – the Palestinian territories, where a parallel Startup Nation story is emerging in East Jerusalem, Ramallah and the West Bank, as well as in the Israeli cybersecurity hub of Beersheba. And we will learn how the fertile innovation ecosystem of Silicon Wadi has evolved as a result of its unique political, geographical and cultural situation and explore the future challenges – and solutions – these nations are facing.CONNECT WITH WIREDWeb: WIREDWIRED brings you the future as it happens - the people, the trends, the big ideas that will change our lives. An award-winning printed monthly and online publication. WIRED is an agenda-setting magazine offering brain food on a wide range of topics, from science, technology and business to pop-culture and politics.
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  • Ryan Yao

    Ryan Yao

     2 years ago +2021

    It's always a funny thing that as a Chinese, I learned quite a lot about China from these kinds of documentary produced by foreigners.

  • BeginPanicAttack


     2 months ago +159

    me before watching this video : ugh fake chinese tech
    me after watching this video : wtf i want a fake chinese iphone running android with a replaceable battery and memory card slot for 70 bucks

  • Silas Beall

    Silas Beall

     2 months ago +96

    19:55 "Kim Kardashian" mute 😂🤣 they couldn't have picked anything better to mute

  • angeleum


     a years ago +326

    In 2002 - 2003, I was a tech rep for my US company in China (and Singapore). Our Chinese manufacturing partner was in Hangzhou, but our Chinese offices were in Shenzhen and Hong Kong where most of our Chinese sales were, so I had a chance to see the start of the development and innovation process this film so ably explains. What I saw back then blew me away, but when I got back Stateside no one would credit what I saw developing. The misunderstanding and complacency among my friends and business acquaintances was striking. Today we see the consequence of that sort of thinking. This film ought to be required viewing in our schools and communities. Thanks!

  • Ivo x

    Ivo x

     14 days ago +48

    If only the world could be united in science and tech... progress for us all.

  • Proteus TG

    Proteus TG

     3 years ago +955

    Americans complain about job loss.
    I wonder how many kids in the USA are learning electronics and software at age nine?

  • IGOR


     10 months ago +185

    I'm a Korean living in SZ, I gotta say SZ is much better than u think. The problem is……VPN!

  • Roland Lawrence

    Roland Lawrence

     a years ago +219

    the same thing happened with the wright brothers. they spent more time fighting people using their patents than innovating their invention to the point that the europeans leaped ahead by the 1920s by some margin.

  • Mopyam L

    Mopyam L

     a years ago +40

    Shenzen is literally lit. Its a city in the future, an existing cyberpunk city. I bet most of the electrinics i use is from Shenzen.

  • Sidek Husaini

    Sidek Husaini

     14 days ago +37

    meanwhile in Dubai "we have gold, lets put it on your food"

  • John Roberts

    John Roberts


    Awesome programme on Chinese culture and innovation

  • Robert Hensley

    Robert Hensley

     14 days ago +14

    Videos like these are pretty eye-opening about perspectives of different cultures. On the one hand, there's some 1984 stuff going on in China with the social credit system as well as horrible detention of Uyghurs in western China. On the other hand, there is really admirable stuff going on in the tech communities of China that really benefit the Chinese middle class and technological innovation in general. It's interesting seeing China from multiple perspectives, not that it should downplay their authoritarianism.

  • Shawn Elliott

    Shawn Elliott

     10 months ago +54

    This video makes me want to invent something. I don't know what it is, but I want to invent it.

  • letsif


     14 days ago +14

    China is able to have long term goals, being a one rule government and can out wait the west who have elections every four years that constantly shift the vision.

  • Ruoping Li

    Ruoping Li

     2 years ago +205

    This is one of those cyberpunk cities of the future

  • TheSpoonKing


     2 months ago +3

    This documentary was really interesting until it turned into a defense of IP theft and patent fraud...

  • mike b

    mike b

     4 hours ago

    Steve Wozniak understood open source. The apple one was completely open-source the schematics and foil patterns for the PCB were available for free . I am sure that Steve Wozniak would have sold an empty Apple 1 printed circuit board if asked.

  • Victor Mjomba

    Victor Mjomba

     14 days ago +13

    I am an aspiring tech entrepreneur Shenzhen suddenly looks like my promised land . I totally wanna get there.

  • jim cricket

    jim cricket

     14 days ago +16

    In the 50s and 60s made in Japan = junk. By the 80s MIJ= quality. Same thing is gonna happen with MIC.

  • ashiha


     2 years ago +608

    This concept is both terrifying as an engineer and one of the best things to happen for humanity. As an engineer, I would be terrified to live there. To think that I would need to stay one step ahead of everyone else for the rest of my life in order to make any money is a scary concept. Sure, it promotes constant improvement of technologies which is great for the common good, but the concept of having to be the best to stay afloat is a very stressful one. Here in the US, it takes one real great invention or advancement to guarantee someones' financial future. In Shenzhen, you would need to do that every day. It's like having to find gold every time you swing a pickaxe.