Huaqiangbei is originally started with electronic component and part trading from 1980s and 1990s, and then consumer products like DVD players, MP3 players, Desktop computers and parts were also being sold very well in late 1990 and early 2000, and then traditional cell phones were sold here, Nokia were very popular here, and then copy Nokia and some Shanzhai(copy) phones were the dominated business here, before the online shopping became popular, Huaqiangbei had been the hub between the manufacturers and distributors.
And now Taobao/T-Mall, DJ.com are the major players in the online business, and a lot of people don’t need to come to Huaqiangbei for shopping, then how can Huaqiangbei still be in business?
There are still things that you can’t just buy online, you can’t eat online, you can’t fix your phones online, so Huaqiangbei becomes a food and repair street.
Repair in Chinese’s symbols (characters) is “维修”, you can see a lot of these symbols when you come to Huaqiangbei. Any one of the pictures below has more than 12 pieces of “Repair”, some can be up to 30 pieces of “维修”
What I am trying to sell is that there is nothing that can make money with, only cell phone repair is some kind of business that is still helping Huaqiangbei to survive, because Huaqiangbei still attracts a lot of people especially the tourists from China and overseas, and it is well known that you can fix your phone/computer/camera here, it is not only about the repair centers here, but more importantly, there are a lot of spare parts available here, you can get your phone fixed very quick in a good price.
Since there are more and more people competing in the repair business, it becomes very difficult for them to survide now. Unless there are some new invovations coming to the market, Huaqiangbei will be more and more difficult.