The annual CES tech show in Las Vegas is attracting eyes and ears from around the world with some of the planet's most innovative technology and ideas. One third of the companies participating in this year's extravaganza are from China, and ten percent of them are from one city-- Shenzhen. Ge Yunfei reports.
CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, has kicked off its annual run in Las Vegas. It's the world's largest gathering for innovators to showcase the latest technology, devices and equipment. But some say it should be called China Electronics Show. According to official data, about one third of the roughly 4,500 attending companies and organizations are from China.
Add to that, you'll find Shenzhen - China's tech hub city - in the names of nearly 500 participating companies, five times that of those from the US. Makeblock, a producer of Lego-like electronic blocks for children, is one of those Shenzhen groups. Jasen Wang, founder and CEO of the code-writing company, says Shenzhen's high-profile presence at CES is no surprise.
JASEN WANG FOUNDER & CEO OF MAKEBLOCK "Shenzhen is one of the world's manufacturing centers for electronics. For instance, you could find any component you want in its electronic markets. Also in this region, there are other cities like Dongguan that can handle all your demands of processing and manufacturing. And with the help of other software powerhouses like Tencent, Shenzhen is the best place for electronic manufacturing in the whole world."
Wang came to Shenzhen in 2011 - shortly after graduating from college to pursue his robotics dream. Two years later, he founded Makeblock. Today, his company is already a worldwide leader in STEM education. This is their latest coding toy—Codey Rocky. With some simple drags and drops on the iPad, kids can easily write codes to control the movement of a robot toy. While Wang's latest focus is on the overseas market, he says his hopes remain high for Shenzhen's many innovation start-ups.
JASEN WANG FOUNDER & CEO OF MAKEBLOCK "Many Chinese firms are going global, especially those innovation-driven companies. So CES is a good platform for them to showcase their products to the world. On the other hand, it shows a great trend of hardware innovation. If the last decade belonged to the Internet, the next ten years will be for the hardware start-ups. And Shenzhen is riding the wave."
GE YUNFEI SHENZHEN "When talking abut drones, the first brand that comes to our mind is definitely DJI. But in fact in Shenzhen, several other drone companies are trying to tap into the booming global drone market and replicate the success of DJI, like this one, from a local start-up named GDU."
As a young start-up just founded in 2015, GDU hopes it can squeeze into the rapidly-evolving drone market by finding the proper market niche. Executives say Shenzhen is the best place for GDU to pursue its goals of becoming a game changer.
WU RUYI, BRAND DIRECTOR GDU TECHNOLOGY "Shenzhen's Research & Development investment ranks second in China. But unlike Beijing, Shanghai and other big cities which have lots of universities and institutes, Shenzhen relies mainly on the enterprises' spontaneous investment in R&D. So there is a great atmosphere of innovation and entrepreneurship here."
In 2016, GDU introduced the world's first foldable drone to CES. It was among the nominees for the Best Drone Award. This year, their latest product, a much smaller portable drone with a special arm design, is expected to make another lasting impression at the show.
WU RUYI, BRAND DIRECTOR GDU TECHNOLOGY "At CES, we can see the world and world can also see us. China is transforming from Made In China to Create In China. Shenzhen is now playing a leading role in this transition. So it's no wonder that we can see so many companies from Shenzhen at CES."
Wu says, considering government policies, business environment and a full supply chain, Shenzhen is probably the best place for innovation start-ups. And the next, Huawei, is just waiting for its big moment. CES 2018 runs until Friday. Ge Yunfei, CGTN, Shenzhen.