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  • Noah Hill

Shenzhen Adventures, Week 1

Hello from Shenzhen, China! Dan and I arrived in last Tuesday and can hardly believe an entire week has passed. So much has happened in this first week. We think it will be great to keep a weekly blog to keep everybody updated. We want to strike a balance of both business development and general, fun experiences, so be expecting lots of exciting stories! If you enter your email to subscribe, you will receive a notification every week when we post about our most recent adventures.

This first post will be focused on the whirlwind of arriving in China over the last week - settling into our new home and office space, exploring the areas around our office, and enjoying the delicious food.

Shenzhen, China is 8000 miles away from Boston, MA, where UCHU has been operating for the past two and a half years. Shenzhen is home to over 12.5 Million people and is the world capitol for electronics manufacturing, sourcing, and development. The HAX office is on Huaqiang Street, in the same building as the main electronic sourcing market. We can take an elevator a few floors down and find almost any electronic component one could ever need!

This first week in Shenzhen has been all about settling in and preparing for the coming months. Dan and I obtained mainland China bank accounts, purchased mainland China SIM cards and phone numbers, moved into a temporary AirBnB, signed a lease for a permanent apartment with HAX roommates, and created accounts for various mobile apps that are practically mandatory for day-to-day life here. WeChat, Alipay, and TaoBao are among several websites and mobile apps that are used all throughout Shenzhen to eat food, pay rent, and do business. English is very rare here, but thanks to the help of the HAX staff and Google Translate we are getting everything set up with minimal problems.

We have worked full days in the HAX office since Wednesday morning. The space is absolutely incredible, taking up two entire floors of the World Electronics Building. Other HAX teams are working on awesome, innovative products, and the people are really friendly. Teams come from France, Canada, all over the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, and other places from all over the world. They are working on developing everything from an automated dry cleaning machine, a smart watch for basketball players, drone automation, thermal transfer sensors to optimize energy efficiency in buildings, to an automated cocktail bar that mixes fancy drinks at the push of a button! We already feel at home and welcomed, the HAX ecosystem is a fantastic community.

Although the first week has been mostly focused on logistics, we are still making time to explore the city and appreciate Shenzhen. The city is vast and comprised of many different neighborhoods, all with unique characteristics. So far we've found a huge shopping mall area, an area with great restaurants covering every block, several interesting residential areas, technology districts, and neighborhood filled with skyscrapers.

Shenzhen is also home to a number of beautiful public parks, with ponds, lakes, and full of people starting their morning stretching or practicing Tai Chi. Dan and I have made a point to wake up early and start our mornings with a run, so we can get some exercise in while also exploring all of the parks.

This Sunday we travelled on a two hour bus ride with ten other HAX team members to spend the day at DongChong Beach. We rode a banana boat, played frisbee, and spent plenty of time in the water. It was the perfect way to relax after a busy week moving across the world!

One of the best parts about Shenzhen so far is the food. One US Dollar is equivalent to 7.14 Renminbi, or Chinese Yuan. Dan and I can get a delicious complete meal with fresh noodles and drinks for less than $5 total. A typical bowl of noodles costs just around 15 Chinese Yuan (about $2 USD). Shenzhen is specifically known for its abundance of noodles, and a good restaurant can be found on essentially every block. There is a tasty bao (Chinese stuffed buns) shop right across from our current AirBnB, and they are delicious to have for breakfast!

That sums up our first week here in China! Next week we plan on diving into more engineering work as well as exploring more parks and some of the live music venues.

Stay tuned and make sure to subscribe for the next update!

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