Here the WSJ explains Shenzhen’s deeply entrenched electronics manufacturing infrastructure and its thrust into design and branding.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump ’s threat to compel Apple Inc. and others to manufacture more at home should strike fear into this Chinese megacity where many of the world’s high-tech gadgets are made.
Once a sleepy village, Shenzhen today is the sprawling epicenter of China’s consumer-electronics industry, the country’s top export. At two Foxconn Technology Group factories here, some 230,000 workers make gear for Apple and global rivals, including Chinese communications giant Huawei Technologies Co., which has its base in Shenzhen.
Yet many executives here say they aren’t worried by Mr. Trump. The economic forces that transformed this once-poor backwater in Guangdong province into a sea of skyscrapers are too massive to be rolled back, their thinking goes. Even if Mr. Trump imposes tariffs on Chinese-made goods, as he has threatened to do, it’s now so efficient to engineer, produce and ship electronics from this region of southern China that it could still outcompete the U.S., they say.
Some small manufacturers are shifting to design and branding. In two years, Qiwo Smartlink Technology Ltd. has gone from a maker of cheap cameras and gizmos for others to a design house with $100 million in annual sales. “All the supply chains and related companies are here, I don’t think you can move this to the U.S.,” said James Guo, Qiwo’s head of exports.