Economic review

Shenzhen's high-profile presence at CES 2018

2018-01-11 10:33:00 (Beijing Time)         CGTN

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The booth of China's TCL is seen at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (Photo/chinadaily.com.cn)

Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 has recently kicked off its annual show in Las Vegas. It's the world's largest gathering for innovators to showcase their latest technology, devices and equipment.

But some say it should be called "China Electronics Show". According to official data, about one third of the roughly 4,500 attending companies and organizations are from China.

Shenzhen, China's tech hub, is in the name of nearly 500 participating companies, five times that of those from the US.

Makeblock, a producer of Lego-like electronic blocks for children, is one of those Shenzhen groups.

Jasen Wang, the founder and CEO, says Shenzhen's high-profile presence at CES comes as no surprise.

"Shenzhen is one of the world's main manufacturing centers for electronics. For instance, you could find any component you want in its electronic markets." said Wang.

"Also in this region, there are other cities like Dongguan that can handle all the demands of processing and manufacturing. And with the help of other software powerhouses like Tencent, Shenzhen is the best place for electronic manufacturing in the whole world." He added.

Wang himself is an example of the city's innovation and spirit.

He came to Shenzhen in 2011 - shortly after graduating from college - to pursue his robotics dream. Two years later, he founded Makeblock. His company is already a worldwide leader in STEM education, and this year they're bringing the latest coding toy, Codey Rocky, to CES.

With some simple drags and drops on the iPad, kids can easily write code to control the movement of a robot toy.

While Wang's latest focus is on the overseas market, he says his hopes remain high for Shenzhen's many innovation start-ups.

"Many Chinese firms are going global, especially those innovation-driven companies. So CES is a good platform for them to showcase their products to the world. On the other hand, it shows a great trend of hardware innovation. If the last decade belonged to the Internet, the next ten years will be for the hardware start-ups. And Shenzhen is riding the wave."

When talking about drones, the first brand that comes to our mind is definitely DJI. But in fact in Shenzhen, several other drone companies are trying to tap into the booming global drone market and replicate the success of DJI.

As a young start-up just founded in 2015, GDU hopes it can squeeze into the rapidly-evolving drone market by finding the proper market niche.

Executives say Shenzhen is the best place for GDU to pursue its goals of becoming a game changer.

Wu Ruyi, brand director of GDU Technology, said, "Shenzhen's Research & Development investment ranks second in China, But unlike Beijing, Shanghai and other big cities which have lots of universities and institutes, Shenzhen relies mainly on the enterprises' spontaneous investment in R&D. So there is a great atmosphere of innovation and entrepreneurship here."

In 2016, GDU introduced the world's first foldable drone to CES, which was among the nominees for that year's Best Drone Award.

This year, their latest product, a much smaller portable drone with a special arm design, is expected to make another lasting impression at the show.

Wu added, considering government policies, business environment and a full supply chain, Shenzhen is probably the best place for innovation start-ups. And the next Huawei is just waiting for its big moment.