Here at oomlout we're big fans of China's Shenzhen, home to every type of hardware and component an electronics hacker could ever want. We're not alone in this, of course: we've previously talked about Seeed Studio's love for Hua Qiang Bei, taken a look at reverse-engineering cloned chips, and even the famous Hacker Camp Shenzhen. Now, though, visitors to the region have the chance to go armed with one of the most useful tools we've seen: a sourcing tool in the form of a bilingual guidebook.
Created by noted hacker Andrew 'bunnie' Huang, best known for creating the maker-friendly open-hardware Novena, the Essential Guide to Electronics in Shenzhen isn't simply a guidebook. The flippable spiral-bound folder is designed to make it easy to find the particular components, tools, or services that you require and provides key phrases in both English and Mandarin. Simply point to the question you'd like to ask, and your vendor will be able to read the translation and point to the relevant answer.
Naturally, the book isn't just a particularly focused bilingual dictionary. As well as technical phrases and questions, you'll find maps of the Hua Qiang area, pockets for placing invoices, business cards and samples, and even information on tasks like crossing the border into Shenzhen itself. While visitors to Shenzhen would still be well advised to hire a translator, the book will certainly make a good backup - and at $35, it's a lot cheaper.
Bunnie is currently crowd-funding production of the book on Crowd Supply, where it has already succeeded in reaching its funding goal.
Going to Shenzhen, China is a massive enabler for Makers, hackers, and entrepreneurs alike. The Essential Guide to Electronics in Shenzhen is the book I wish I had when I first stepped foot into China a decade ago.