HuaQiangBei Electronics Market Post Covid Tour with my Son

In blog, family friends, travel, vlog by Michael Michelini

I’ve done a Hua Qiang Bei market tour video blog before, but that was all in the “pre-COVID” world. Friends like Andy Lee have been asking me for a vlog showing how the Hua Qiang Bei market has transformed since COVID became a reality.

Today, my son received a DIY spider robot in the mail and made most of it on his own (daddy is so proud!).

We both had some trouble wiring the battery case to the motor, and then I figured this is a great excuse to finally head over to Hua Qiang Bei for that video blog.

At the same time, we could hit multiple birds with one stone by also getting to solder his DIY robot and pick up some gear for the various projects I’m working on (been geeking out on routers and other decentralized web hardware).

Popping in to a Didi taxi, we were there in about 20 minutes. Light rain made it a bit challenging to do much outside. Lucky thing that most of the market is indoors!

Picking a random market building, I was shocked to see more than half of the shops closed. It is a Sunday, just a few days after the Chinese National Holiday. Could this be the reason why? Or maybe the current COVID world really has changed things for good.

I wouldn’t say that the pandemic is the only reason, but it is the acceleration of everyone buying everything online!

Being at the market is fun though, as we could walk around and look at all the item, but when you make a big purchase, you may as well search online and get a better price.

Still, we found a market shop that focused on repairing cell phones. Miles asked him if he could help check the robot he made and pointed at the loose wiring to the battery case. Initially the shop owner said he only fixes cell phones, but later picked up the soldering iron and fused the wiring together.

Pretty sweet. I was so happy and he wouldn’t accept any money so I found an issue on one of my mobile phones and he went to work fixing that.

Next on the agenda was shopping around next for daddy’s stuff. I wanted a cheap mouse and keyboard for a raspberry pi setup I’m testing on the Indigitus router software.

After going up about 4 floors in a building I regularly visit, we found shops full of keyboards and mice. I put my son’s Chinese to work, and he was asking shop keepers for prices.

It was all too tempting for me to take the chance and have him learn to bargain. I asked him to offer a lower price than the 80rmb quote, asking if they would take 50. The shopkeeper laughed and pulled out another model that was 35rmb. Sweet.

Good job Miles.

Hope you enjoyed this video blog, and the video camera was more from the perspective of my son than me. Being a father has been witnessing life from his eyes more than mine.

I wonder how the Hua Qiang Bei market will further change as he grows up.

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