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  • Noah Hill

Shenzhen Adventures, Week 4: First Factory Tour and Visiting Hong Kong

Dan and I have now officially been living in Shenzhen for 1 month. We left Boston on September 1st, and wow does time sure fly by. This is still just the tip of the iceberg with regards to everything we have planned for work and sightseeing!

This was a big week for us, very busy but also exciting. We moved out of our AirBnB and are living in an apartment, developed our first batch of printed circuit boards, installed our own molar bands, had our first formal factory visit, and spent the weekend in Hong Kong.

One of the most important reasons we moved to Shenzhen is the geographical proximity to the world's leading manufacturing facilities. Understanding manufacturing processes, technical limitations, facility capabilities, testing protocols, quality control p[procedures, and many other important factors are critical for choosing the best manufacturing partner for your company. Understanding these factors is very important for product design as well, because a manufacturer must be able to feasibly create what you want!

The factory we visited is called Jetta, and we went with 10 other HAX team members along with Miki, part of the awesome HAX staff who helped translate and made sure we asked all the right questions. Jetta manufacturers products for Lego, SimpliSafe home security, Fisher Price, Roomba, and other large companies. Jetta supports a wide variety of products, from miniature robots to medical devices, and many consumer goods like toys, baby strollers, and even Christmas decorations. They have three campuses in China, and are one of the largest manufacturing companies here. They can also support companies from the early product ideation stage, and have lots of prototyping technologies to help companies with whatever they might need.

We started the tour with a fancy lunch in a very nice room, got to meet several of the engineers who work at Jetta, and then toured all of the main sections of the factory. We got to ask their CEO any questions we had during the tour, and they gave everyone very comfy neck pillows for the long bus ride back to HAX. Overall, it was a fantastic experience and we cannot wait to tour more factories and see how they compare.

After a long week of working and touring factories, we went to Hong Kong with another team at HAX. The other team had some friends that are studying in Hong Kong right now, so we all met up and they showed us all the best spots. We started the weekend by getting some food, walking around the city, and taking the metro to get from place to place. The city is very different from Shenzhen, and had much more of a "New York" vibe. There are people everywhere, lots of fashion, tons of high end stores, skyscrapers and cars everywhere you look, and also more variation for food options!

We found a really fancy mall that was filled with super high end designer stores like Gucci, Prada, Balenciaga, Louis Vitton, and many brands we had never even heard of before. While pretty much everything in the mall was out of our budget, we stumbled upon an interesting store called the Museum of Modern Art Design Store. This store was full of cool innovative products, or things with extremely "modern designs" like these skateboards.

After walking around for a while, we got some food and then explored the night life. Hong Kong is really cool at night, with tons of lights and even more people out walking around. We all took a ferry across the river to a neighborhood with cool bars and clubs. After having some fun for most of the night, we took a taxi back and spent the night in an AirBnB. We woke up, went to an amazing bagel restaurant for breakfast, then headed back to HAX to get some more work done.

This was a great trip with awesome people, and we will definitely be visiting Hong Kong more while we are here in China!

One of my favorite parts about Shenzhen that I'm discovering is the abundance of delicious boba tea shops. The boba tea is way better here compared to Boston, and there are many more options for types of tea and flavors.

My favorite shop is Hey Tea, a very popular boba tea chain that is pretty common all throughout the area. The best part is that to order a drink, you don't even have to wait in line! You use WeChat to scan a QR code on the wall inside or near the shop, place your order, and then wait for the notification when your boba tea is ready.

Sometimes it can take 30 minutes for your tea to be ready, due to the popularity of shops like Hey Tea, so I've found it is smart to order ahead of time, so when you're done running errands or searching for parts in the electronics market it will be done.

That's all for this week - stay tuned for the next update, who knows what kind of shenanigans we will get into next!

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