Exploring the “Ghost Market” of Huaqiangbei: the paradise for buyer to purchase eletronic products

By justchinait
October 15, 2020

Exploring the “Ghost Market” of Huaqiangbei, Shenzhen at night: opens in the early morning and ends at dawn

At two o’clock in the morning, when the whole city gradually fell into silence, the Aihua Market near Shenzhen Huaqiang North was very lively.

Almost all the hundreds of meters long streets are occupied by people who set up stalls, and every stall is tightly surrounded by customers who come to Shopping.

People kept coming from the darkness, and then stopped in front of a certain stall, picked up the merchandise to have a look, and then bargained with the stall owner.

Here, many people bought their favorite mobile phones, tablets, etc., at very low prices, and then left with satisfaction.

And such a noisy scene can last for several hours every night. Until four or five o’clock in the middle of the night, as the stallholders leave one after another, the market will disappear completely in Huaqiangbei as if it had never appeared before.

The market that opens in the early morning like this and ends before dawn is the “ghost market” in Shenzhen.

It really exists in Huaqiangbei in the middle of the night.

What kind of scenery under the night?

As soon as the hour hand passed 12 o’clock, there were already active “businessmen” carrying bags to grab the booth. Plastic baskets, foam boxes, cardboard, and special red, white and blue canvas bag for stalls, they used everything they could use for loading.

As time slowly passed, the number of stalls on the roadside gradually increased, and the passersby around the stalls began to gather.

The mysterious ghost market opened silently under this night.

The things they sell are also unique in Huaqiangbei. Most of them are old electronic products, even the old antiques of the last century-“Big Brother” are sold.

Some people sell less things and come with a backpack or a small plastic bag. After finding a suitable location, they poured out the contents of the bag and let the mobile phones, data cables, earphones and other objects scattered on the ground. Sit on the floor by yourself, waiting for buyers to come.

Regardless of whether there is more or less stuff on the stall, there will always be passers-by around, looking at the goods on the ground. After all, everything in this market may be a treasure!

Another important reason why the ghost market is so popular is that the prices of these commodities are very cheap.

Plugs and data cables are 2CNY a piece, wired earphones are 3CNY a pair, those odd and odd mobile phone accessories, some stalls sell 5CNY a piece, or 40CNY a catty!

The counter-offer is also very simple and rude:

“how much is this?”


“Can you sell it for 10CNY? I will leave if I don’t sell it.”

“Fine! …”

As for mobile phones and tablet computers, there are original ones, refurbished ones, ones with fingerprints, and ones without fingerprints. The price ranges from 50-1000CNY. For the treasure hunters in the ghost market, this is really cheap.

Some “local tyrants” will buy hundreds of thousands of CNY at a time and fill them in a big bag. Then take it to the workshop to refurbish, or increase the price a little bit and resell it to others.

In this market that only opens late at night, business opportunities can be smelled everywhere.

A ghost market full of “hidden rules”

Some people may find it strange that it is obviously an ordinary night market. Why do you have to make a fool of yourself and call this place a “ghost market”?

Ghost market is a kind of stall culture. But not every market opened late at night can be called a ghost market.

The earliest ghost market was a trading scene in the traditional antique market.

There is a saying among the people that antique vendors from all over the world will rush to set up stalls near Beijing Liulichang on a fixed day. Some large families who fall into the poor, can only take advantage of the dark night to set up a stall to sell their the property.

Those who are shopping for antiques go to the street market with lanterns to search for treasures.

In this gloomy street market, there is an unwritten rule: you can only use lanterns to illuminate goods, not human faces. With the evolution of the times, flashlights have replaced lanterns.

Customers choose products with flashlights

The ghost market in Huaqiangbei is the same.

Even if the desk lamps on the stalls illuminate the whole street, those insiders who are well versed in the “hidden rules” of the ghost market will come to shopping with flashlights. If you don’t have a flashlight, you can use the flash of your mobile phone instead. But those who came to the ghost market empty-handed, the stall owner might just glance at them and attribute them to laymen.

Those with flashlights are experts in the ghost market

In addition to flashlights, the ghost market also has strict “three noes” rules: one does not ask about the origin, the second does not ask for true or false, and the third no refunds.

To buy things in the ghost market, as long as you like it and the price is right, that’s enough.

People who often visit the ghost market have established rules. No one cares about where the stuff on the stall comes from, let alone whether it is true or false. Even if the item breaks one day, can only go to the ghost market the next day to buy one. Because experts can often find good things in ghost markets at low prices!

Someone once spent 25CNY to buy a genuine Swiss watch in the ghost market, and some people used 100CNY to buy various mobile phone accessories in the ghost market to manually assemble a high-performance iPhone.

There are goods of uneven quality, there are glaring buyers.

Therefore, even at two or three o’clock in the middle of the night, there is an endless stream of pedestrians on this street.

It’s a garbage street, it’s also a heaven for earners

Those who live near Aihua Market are used to calling the ghost market “garbage street”.

In their eyes, 99% of the things in the market are foreign garbage of unknown origin.

In addition, most of the stall owners sell second-hand goods, and the placement of goods is quite random. At first glance, this street does look like a garbage dump full of debris.

But for some stallholders, the significance is extraordinary.

If you observe carefully, it is not difficult to find that quite a few of the stalls here are middle-aged and elderly people, and both men and women. They don’t know what a motherboard is or what an ID lock is, but just like those young people, they set up a stall in Huaqiangbei in the early morning.

In addition to electronic products, they also sell fans, watches, flashlights and other life-related items in various types and at low prices.

They said that a few years ago, stalls could be set up here in broad daylight, and people who came and went here took what they needed, which solved survival problem of many people.

With the gradual improvement of city management, the act of setting up stalls during the day was banned. In order to live, they can only haunt in the early morning, taking advantage of the time when everyone is asleep after get off work, to seek a livelihood in the ghost market.

Although the things they sell are cheap, but fortunately, small profits but quick turnover, the money they make every month can support their life. Otherwise, who would sacrifice his sleep time and set up a stall at two in the morning?

The ghost market active in the early hours of the morning provides them with the opportunity to make money in Shenzhen and to support themselves drifting in Shenzhen.

This “garbage street” is also a paradise for earners.

At night in every city, there are so few lamps that will not go out, warming those who return late and also illuminating the direction they are going.

Huaqiangbei Ghost Market is the still bright corner of the night. It is precisely because of the existence of the ghost market that the night in Shenzhen seems so mysterious.

This hustle and bustle at two o’clock in the morning

It also makes Shenzhen, an extremely tolerant city full of charm.

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