Growing from a collection of fishing villages of 30,000 people in 1978 to a global industrial powerhouse of over 12 million people in 2018, Shenzhen is one of the biggest stories within the rise of China over the past forty years. Today, Shenzhen is estimated to produce approximately 90 percent of the world’s electronics. Its vast hardware ecosystem includes big players such as phone maker Huawei and leading drone maker DJI, and a myriad of agile manufacturers and hardware startups. The city is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of Hardware. Shenzhen is made of a diverse population of immigrants from every social background. It is a magnet for talent in the sciences and engineering, and increasingly in architecture, design, education, arts, music, and entertainment. It has the youngest average population among China cities. In 2018, Shenzhen is poised to transform itself into a global force in design and creativity in addition to advanced manufacturing.


The Project

  • One month (June 1 - June 30) of research and content production in Shenzhen, China
  • Basecamp is Hax, the world's largest hardware accelerator, in Shenzhen China.
  • Investigate and catalog the ecosystem of partners (designers, manufacturers, service providers) for early-stage hardware companies and entrepreneurs in Shenzhen, China.
  • Work in small teams to explore, meet with and catalog a variety of manufacturers, factories, service providers.
  • Within one month, students should become experts on the worldwide electronics hardware manufacturing supply chain.
  • Exposure to the fastest growing hardware entreprenuership market in the world.

The Details

  • Initiated by PCI, led by Professor Christian Grewell, Phyllis Liu (PCI) and Hu Di (IMA)
  • Program can accommodate up to 4 NYU Shanghai students (by application only)
  • Depart Shanghai Friday, June 1, return Saturday, June 30
  • Participants are responsible for all travel, meals and lodging (estimated at 9,500RMB)
  • Limited need-based financial support is available.
  • Contact Professor Grewell for more information (

Summary Itinerary

Below is a summary itinerary. More details will be available within the coming weeks.

  • May 27: Project planning meeting
  • June 1: Depart Shanghai for Shenzhen
  • June 4 - 8: Set up @ Hax, introduction to Shenzhen ecosystem, first team meetings
  • June 15: Dragon Boat Holiday
  • June 18 - 22: Project continues
  • June 25 - 29: Project continues
  • June 30: Depart Shenzhen for Shanghai


Please complete the application form below to indicate your interest in participating in the project. Applications will remain open until May 18th, 2018.

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Choosing to answer this question will not impact your application to the program




Program participants will stay at the Maker Hotel, located across the street from the Hax office and workshop, 5 minutes from the electronics markets of HuaQiangBei (华强北).

The negotiated room rate is 200 RMB per night.

A Day in the Life


Below is a sample itinerary, you can expect most weekdays to include some combination of work at Hax, followed by trips around the city to meet with suppliers and investigate Shenzhen's future hardware manufacturing ecosystem.


  • (all teams) meet at Hax office (HuaQiangBei)
  • (all teams) review prior day activities and draft blog post (supplier meetings, video)


  • (team 1) Carbon fiber factory visit and documentation
  • (team 2) Visit HuaqiangBei suppliers
  • (team 3) Meeting with design firm to review and sample new materials prototypes


  • (all teams) Hardware prototyping workshop at Hax

Program Expenses


Participants in the program will need to fund their travel, lodging, meals and entertainment. PCI has limited funds available to provide need-based financial support. 

Estimated Program Expenses

  • Lodging: 6,000 RMB
  • Transportation (ground + air): 1,500 RMB
  • Meals + Entertainment: 2,000 RMB

Total Estimated Program Expenses: 9,500 RMB