We visited ECS factory located in ShenZhen city (the correct pronunciation is “tchen-jen”), Guangdong province, mainland China. This trip was a unique experience in several ways and we think it is worthwhile to talk more about several aspects of this trip – and about the factories, of course. We visited two factories: ECSM (ECS Manufacturing), which is a giant two-building complex where motherboards, notebooks and other components are manufactured, and Biloda, which manufactures printed circuit boards (PCBs) used on ECS and PCChips motherboards (for those who doesn’t know, PCChips belongs to ECS).
Arriving in ShenZen is an adventure by itself. Since we were in Taiwan, we had to travel one hour from Taipei (Taiwan’s capital city) to Hong Kong and there we got a bus, which took one hour (65 Km or 40 miles) to arrive in our destination. Even though ShenZhen has an international airport, it is not possible to catch a plane from Taiwan to ShenZen, due to the political problems between China and Taiwan.
Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region, which means that even though it belongs to mainland China, Hong Kong is treated as it was another country. There everything is different from China, including the currency and the driving system (which is the English one).
ShenZhen is located besides Hong Kong, as you can see on the map below, and it is a Special Economic Zone, i.e., a capitalist cell inside a communist country.
Figure 1: South China map, showing the location of ShenZhen and Hong Kong.
The quantity of customs and immigration officers that we need to cross until arriving in ShenZhen is simply unbelievable, our passport was stamped a lot of times. Check it out: leaving Taiwan, entering Hong Kong, leaving Hong King, entering ShenZhen. Four stamps in our way in and four more stamps in our way out.
ShenZhen is a very big city, with almost the same population as New York City and two times Los Angeles population (7 million inhabitants). We were really surprised. It is a real capitalist city, with several things working 24/7. Big neon signs are seen everywhere, resembling Las Vegas or Atlantic City.
ShenZhen is an industrial district, having mainly factories of electronics products. Usually the employees that work on the manufacturing lines come from country towns to work hard and save money to go back to their home town. The typical Chinese employee works a lot with very little rest.
ShenZhen was established only 20 years ago and is a capitalist power horse. This makes us think what will happen when the entire China goes into capitalism.
Together with this migration, the bad side, present in all cities of that size: by dusk you can see a lot of prostitutes and beggars in front of the hotels.
After this ShenZhen introduction, let’s talk about our visit to the main ECS factory.