Paintings, PCBs, and Possibilities – How Chinese Copies Became Originals

Paintings, PCBs, and Possibilities – How Chinese Copies Became Originals


What does this peaceful, Chinese oil painting village. Have in common with the largest wholesale electronics markets in the world? Believe it or not, they are alot more alike then you think. And similarities explain alot more about how Chinese industries and manufacturing is organized. And it’s so cool and way different than anything i ever experienced, before coming to China. If you have been watching my videos for a while now but you are not subscribe yet be sure to hit that subscribe button down below and the little bell icon next to it, so you’re notified for the future videos. I also want to thank Audible for sponsoring this video more on that in a little bit. I am in here Dafen oil painting village which is probably my favorite places in Shenzhen second only to the electronics market. Now they called neighbourhoods like this urban villages where you got like apartments above and then like workshops and retail spaces whatnot down below. Even though this probably isn’t what you think of when you hear the word village. It’s world famous for producing really high volume of oil paintings and particularly impressionist art reproductions especially Van Gogh, if you ever seen reproduction starry night chances are it came from here. In recent years it has evolved beyond just mass producing starry night and sunflowers and moved in to also doing custom portraits and original art. Across town here in Huaqianbei neighbourhood are the worlds largest wholesale electronics markets and the epicenter of the Shenzhen electronics manufacturing ecosystem, which is known to produce a large percentage of the world’s electronics. If you have a hover-board or toy drone or a cheap pair of copy Beat headphones, chances are it came from Shenzhen And there’s a likely chance that a least some part of it came through one of the companies that have booth here in the markets. So what makes these places so similar ? When on the surface they seem so incredibly different. You might have noticed, that they both have roots in creating low priced copies of Western goods. But that’s not what I’m actually talking about. But now you would be right both places do have a reputation for copying but aleast that partly deserve. And well, both of them are working to move past that towards creating original products in works. The reality is that, it’s still part of the business here. But if all you have come away with this video is further strengthening of old stereotype that all Chinese people do is copy things than you are missing most interesting part. What i think is most interesting about these places is how the industry is organized. And the incredible opportunity that offers to both the insiders and outsiders. And i think we can stand and learn alot from it. They both are made up of small independent business that are super specialized working incredibly closely together. Both collaborating and competing doing the one thing that they are really good at Lets take a deep dive in how they are organized. And try and figure out what’s makes them so chaotically efficient. First we start with supplies, for paintings you need paint and you need canvas There are shops all over the neighbourhood selling both. For electronics you need tons of different parts and components. Ranging from chips to screws to batteries. They’re distributors and factory booths all over the markets selling these. And then you need very specialized services. Things that might require expensive machinery and that just don’t make sense to everybody to try and do themselves. For many paintings both for preproduction and custom portraits the painter will lightly print a copy of the painting on the canvas using a large format inkjet printer. Now it doesn’t make sense for every painter to own their own inkjet printer cause they are expensive and honestly, they just sit idle most of time while they are painting. so instead there are print shops in the neighbourhood that will take your canvas, take your picture via We-chat and print the picture on the canvas for a very small fee. Similarly, for electronics you need a Pcb or a printed circuit board to solder all the components to. it’s essentially the wires that connect everything together. This needs to be custom designed and manufactured for very version of the product. I made a video last year about how Pcbs are made. You can watch that here, but needless to say you need alot of machines and a big factory to make Pcbs. So, there are factories that do nothing but make Pcbs. And alot of them have booths here in the markets where you can take a look at their sample of their works Similarly, there are framing services and custom keypad manufactures And Pcb assembly services aka Pcb-A that will solder the components on to a circuit board for you Next, you need tools. If you’re a painter that means things like paint brushes, palette knifes, easels for electronics this is everything from solder plots to screw drivers, oscilloscope and some other test equipments. Both areas have tool shops that sell all the specialized tools you need for their respective industries. I have a bunch more i wanna show you, but first i wanna take a quick moment and want to talk about sponsor for this video Audible. I sometime see comments talking about my dedication and determination, which i honestly think is pretty funny because i think myself at my core as pretty highly distractable and lazy. Only relatively recently have i figured out how to actually finish things and keep going when i hit a set back. And one of the things that’s really helping with this is the book The One Thing. If like me you feel like you really struggle to focus and finish the big things that you dream of i can’t recommand to listen to this book highly enough. You can download it as well as heaps of other books to help you become a better person on Audible as well as Audible originals which are exclusive audio stories told by actors, journalist and more. Audible is gonna give your first audio book for free as well as 2 Audible originals, when you try Audible for 30 days Now, lets get back to exploring all paintings and electronics. Now, we haven’t actually talked about who makes the finish product yet. For paintings it’s obvious it’s the painter themselves that are taking all of that paints and supplies and tools and services and turning that into a finish painting. For electronics, it may not be immediately clear though. It certainly wasn’t to me when i first came to Shenzhen. The equivalent of a painter in the electronics world might be called the contract manufacturer if they are making the product for somebody else or just manufacturer if they making the product to sell themselves. The important part is that they are the ones finding and working with all the components suppliers and sub-contractors making or supplying all of the individual parts and then putting all those parts together during what’s typically call final assembly. This is where you typically see a long assembly line of people with a big conveyor belt running down in the middle. We are not done yet though we still need to package up the product or the painting for end customer/ For electronics that means putting it in a nice box with the logo and name and features and barcode so that it can sit on a store shelf. These shops along here will make you the custom packaging to your specifications or they will sell you a generic packaging that you can buy straight of the shelves. For paintings i think the equivalent is framing there are ton of framing shops in Dafen that will make a custom order frames for your paintings. Finally, we have to actually ship the end product to the customer and the international shipping particularly from China is a complicated dark art especially when fragile paintings and electronics with batteries are involved There are logistic companies that specialized in packing and shipping products in both Dafen and Huaqiangbei they can handle things like custom declarations and they also service middleman for companies like fedex and DHL and they can also do things like sea-shipments with, like you know like if you ship a entire container or something. So, now we come full circle. From basic supplies to a finished shipped product. And with exception of maybe some chips and some brand name oil paint its all being done by either individual or very small companies working independently but in really close cooperation with each other. This is unlike any industry i have seen in US maybe it was like this a hundred years ago this model offers such a incredible opportunity for people with some hassle. For the most part everything is happening out in the open and is open to everybody; If you wanna participate as an outsider you can just physically show up and find a place for yourself. Whether its as an in customer buying a pre-made product or having one custom made or whether its taking advantage of all of the parts and supplies and learning it how to put it together it yourself or if you end up remixing the existing services in new and exciting ways but regardless nobody is gonna refuse this to sell you a part or service you are free to come and hustle alongside everybody else. Between 2000 and 2012 64% of China’s urban population went from lower class to middle class and the correct response to those numbers in case you are wondering is holy 🍌🎾🦇 It’s incredible and i think partly responsible for that is ecosystems like Huaqiangbei and Dafen and with that i turn it over to you guys do you think like places like this should exist and if so what should we be doing as societies to encourage them to flourish. Leave your thoughts down in the comments below. Also if you know other places like this i would love to come and visit. let me know about that too. I wanted to add a little bit of a foot note on to this story. At the beginning i mentioned that China is trying to move away from manufacturing other peoples goods for them based on their designs and move towards manufacturing goods of their own designs In a one way this has been dub as is moving way from made in China towards created in China And literally while i have been out shooting this video Dafen has been renovated around me presumably to help encourage this shift. All of these alleys that i am walking down had painters booths in them. Two days ago three days ago and they’re all gone now. They have been tearing out alot of the painters work spaces in the narrow alleys like this one.This had painting spaces in it people actively painting in it. Probably three days ago four days ago. It was also super hard to find any of the large format inkjet printers. I looked every where and i couldn’t really find a single shop. Two years ago, they were every where they were 10~15 shops I don’t quit know what happened to them. All of the footage that i have used is stuff i had shot in the past from previous trips out here. Is all this renovation and change is good for the people and the artist of Dafen. Will it be a place where someone can work their way up from nothing and make a living for themselves and create a successful business, only time will tell. I really really hope so. If you like to learn more about Dafen and the painters here and their lives. There is an amazing documentary called China’s Van Gogh that is can’t recommend highly enough. I will put a link to that down in the description. But completely out of sheer luck i happened to meet one of the painters in that documentary and got the chance to sit down with him for tea. You are very famous now partly because you were in this film. How is your life changed since this film came out ? And so how long you had been living in here in Dafen and painting ? Dafen have must changed alot in that time how is it different ? what was it like 28 years ago compare to now I am Scotty from Strange Parts. If you enjoyed this hit that subscribe button down below and that little bell icon next to it, so you are notified for the future videos. But for now stay tune for more adventures. I’ll see you next time.

100 thoughts on “Paintings, PCBs, and Possibilities – How Chinese Copies Became Originals

  1. ironically part of the reason china can do shit like this is due to the lack of regulation in some areas, industry in china is very… well loosely regulated, however establishing a business and social aspects of life are HEAVILY regulated, which causes a catch 22 and inevitably harms them in the long run. they have reached the cap on how much they can expand and profit from the current system, they need to further reduce government control and ownership on all aspects of Chinese life if they want to be a true competitor with the rest of the world. i.e. china either needs a revolution or the Chinese communist party needs to further cede power to the people.

  2. Speaking of originals, your content is just super fresh and original!
    Unique channel you've got!
    Keep it up!

  3. Excellent video. While I love how such synergies work in China, the fact that there is rampant copying of goods and technology in China is a fact and doesn't seem to be going away any time soon. Also, to the people talking about efficiency, I don't consider this very efficient; flexible, very much so, efficient, not too much.

  4. Omg that horrible to see what they have to done to Dafen , I visited last year and found the place wonderful. I will be going back this year and hope it hasn’t changed too much

  5. It's why I don't buy Acer. The whole brand – as reputable as it may have made itself over the years – originated as a cluster of Made-In-Taiwan cloners and pirates.
    I have enough choices as a consumer that I don't have sacrifice anything when I consciously avoid making a handful of unethically rich people/families even richer.

  6. That looks like pure capitalism. Capitalism based on competition as opposed to the phony capitalism based around false choices curated by monopolies.

  7. We do have this in the USA but, strangely, much of it is spread out and not concentrated in one place. It requires spending a lot of gas to drive here and there or a lot of time searching the WEB. Such a venue would have the potential to encourage entrepreneurship and creativity. In a sense places like Silicon Valley are similar. Vashon Island in Washington is home to many artists. The great artists make their own paint and stretch their own canvas, some may even weave it themselves. Other art forms, such as Buon Fresco, leave their artists with no other choice. Perhaps in Florence you may still be able to buy fresco brushes or the hair to bundle and make your own. As to your question, do we need this? It depends on what you are trying to push. What does the USA want to become? What do we want to foster? In a capitalistic society it all boils down to what do we want to be good at creating and then producing? And then, at what cost to the environment? People like to hang paintings on their walls and they like to play with electronic gizmos so in the short run, why not sell it to them at a price they can afford? The real question is: what are the needs, wants, and desires of future populations? That is what we want to be an expert at.

  8. I think this kind of business model is not unusual in China, if you go to city called JingDeZhen (known as capital of ceramics/pottery) you can find the same kind of business model, where the whole town and surrounding it, work specialised in ceramic/pottery business just like in this video.
    Well, I hope those painters and the painting business are just being moved somewhere else and closed down.

  9. In the west "rules" base system would ban anyone trying to compete with guilds, unions, copy right laws, patents etc… A very close system.
    While in China a "close" system is more open to anyone to opening anything.

  10. 在深圳组装一台Iphone或是PC机都是最最简单的事情,普通宅男都能做,要是你能去广州陈田去组装一台法拉利或是保时捷那才酷,,相信你能做到···

  11. I have been watching your video for a long time now I was just wondering can you make an android phone from scratch

  12. Really enjoyed that perspective. Also woried about the future. I would enjoy a followup when you know more or see how it envolves.

  13. regulations. Regulations against businesses is what fucked America. Take away regulations And every body could have a business. Just like in China how you can just in the middle of an hourly put a table up and start selling food without any inspections or anything.

  14. When ever I visit a hotel or an office building I have always wondered where the art came from. I was told that there are companies that supply the art which comes from thousands of artists based mostly in China. So it was interesting to see where some of this art comes from. I don't know how much the artists are paid but it is not much for mass produced art which is mostly landscapes and/or plants and flowers.

  15. Such an ecosystem of closely distributed individual shops selling parts or helping assemble electronic and other products haven't just helped China's economic buildup, but has enabled new ,complicated technology easy to find and customize with-which is, may be, a different but new,efficient and exiting form of "open source"hardware.

  16. 1:24 is it just me or does that Obama portrait make him look part asian? Like Thai/Indonesian Obama?

  17. I dont think it SHOULDNT exist, but just brand it properly, if its counterfeit, package and price it properly. Dont guarantee quality like the original does.

  18. 9:39 yes of course it should exist but to me the most important aspect of our relationship should be the people making connections.. so happy you are doing what you doing and you have personally changed my life with your enlightenment of the mainland, it's absolutely amazing thank you thank you.. I downloaded wechat and am going to figure out to talk to Chinese people with it.. what translation app do you use, that thing is slick!

  19. It's simple socialism. First invented in Germany, then pushed forward by USSR, now China has picked up the torch.
    There are two parts to the reason why we live the way we live now: "efficiency and exploitation".
    This, the proper potential for social development, is the efficiency. The free market. And exploitation – is the way to profit from it. Exploitation began from ancient slavery and onto the european-american slavery, and now the only way that the profit is made – is because there are efficient societies who are first of all productive.

    USA will never acknowledge the fact that neither it nor capitalism is the "answer" or "the solution", because… it will be suicidal. Every single european andor first world country is ever in their place – because the stole and exploited. There are NO exceptions. No rolexes, iphones, windowses, ARMs and IBMs and jaguars and aston martins – none of them got where they are by their own merits. It's quite ironic to hear "china is a clonemaker", when you don't make a fortune making some premium product by digging that premium material for free from your backyard and then selling it to someone who can buy it.

    Capitalism can be ultimately described by: "He doesn't know what it is, but he can definitely sell it". In other words, capitalism is a way of distribution. This is why marketing, IP and branding are… some of the most profitable areas nowadays. Why "He can sell shit pies to a Queen of England" is supposed to be a compliment. It's visible everywhere – gaming industry, media, music, movies, technology even… Making a quality product, as ironic as it is, is not that hard. We can see it in this video – it just takes some human determination. Selling it – that's what matters. Because there are people, who have exploited others, who have the funds, THEY have to be tapped into. Their money needs to be brought back, and that's how capitalism has helped China develop this hybrid system that is socialist at the core, yet constantly pushing ways to sell things.

    This why USA is concerned – because they are no longer a sugar plantation, their economy rides on controlling every aspect of global market. Dollar – is USA's greatest weapon. And it came from talent theft, IP theft, resource theft and much more. If there is a country that is capable of manufacturing everything, but which will also start selling it as their own product, instead of being a "factory" – it can upheave this monopoly. Suddenly we can see not just Bollywood, but chinese cinema industry, we can see competition to Apple and Google, we can see AliExpress cutting into Amazon's placebo on the world. And the effect will be catastrophic.

    To put it into perspective – USA is the biggest of the few remaining union-countries. EU is falling apart, and USA itself has a lot of differences between its states. But before that – there was USSR. And its downfall was caused by basically tearing one existing and working economy – into multiple, and stealing… unspeakable amounts of money, resources and industry in the process. So why was it torn apart? Pressure. International pressure. The subjects got manipulated and the leadership was corrupt. So what happens when Europe stops seeing Russia as a threat and USA as a patron deity? What happens when people will see Chinese socialism as a better way to progress?
    USA will experience the russian nineties. Or the so-called "perestroika". IPs, corporations, finances – will all be extracted. Subject states, who'd want to adapt socialism – will secede. Instead of USA, you will have a bunch of states that might as well call themselves NA, and then whoever is left out for whatever reason. Maybe some will work with Mexico, some – with Canada. You can't nuke this. This is what happens when you lose the grasp of control over the world. This is what USA is afraid of.
    Because you can be 5 times patriotic, you live in the world that you've built. And they have built a very, very soulless financial abomination. They have people, who could as well rival Hitler in their conviction. And I don't just mean Google or Amazon. The amount of "financial moguls" there is incredible. And when push comes to shove – these people will murder, sell their relatives and their country – in order to save their companies, funds, stocks, what have you.
    It all comes down to financial distribution. When Russian Empire fell – its riches were distributes. When USSR fell – the same story. EU falls – we know the drill. This is why Russia is also pushing for independence, why it tries to work with China and keep the socialistic roots. Because when the next "shakedown" happens – well, I think Russia has had enough of it in recent history. Maybe its time it would do it to someone else. And China is in the same… or at least in a closeby boat – it went from 10centshour to a more or less decent wage. Russian economy got stifled by the sanctions, now China is being targeted. Yet Russia survived, people adjusted, and it's now Europe that wiggles uncomfortably, because a lot was invested into this attack. Trust, diplomacy, financies. Russia was meant to give up. Yet it's still here, its cornered status pushing its resolve. And now China has to fight out of a corner. And when you have an enraged cornered bear and an enraged cornered dragon …. things can get ugly.

  20. Pretty sure your Original Beats headphones are still made in China, probably around the corner from the people making the fakes..

  21. No, is the answer this man was looking for. China doesn't support their people. If you think America has elitest ideology, you haven't been to china. When you're poor, you're poor, PERIOD. They're not rebuilding the areas for the people, they're doing it to mark it as a private business property, that the painters will have to either lease, or get the hell out of there. Reality check.

  22. I love your videos
    I never could thing about how its go on the dayli business in Shenzhen but know I have little walk trough… thank to you
    i´m a electrican and love to buy little electronics in china. now I can see by my self where they come from
    thanks 🙂

  23. the iphone charger slot to a usb-c slot,,,,最便宜的翻墙梯子VPN来了,超低月费,每月仅需11.9元/100G流量!4K秒开,不限速,30+条线路任选,免费体验:shidongli点xyz

  24. i'm really impressed how you turned this channel into essentially a mini doc channel from the success of a few iPhone videos and they're all so interesting. Great work man!

  25. I dont have a problem with them ripping off other peoples ideas. I think patents are the worst thing in the world but where I have issue is when they try and sell them using the company name they ripped off and making it look like you are buying the real deal! O and yes I think places like that are awesome and would love to see something similar happen here in the US. Of course big corporations will crush this idea but still if enough people adopt it, there is little to nothing that could stop it!

  26. I want to go there an build crazy modded PCs. Look at all those parts. I would be in heaven.

  27. Come to India . New Delhi or Mumbai… markets like this exist here too. specialised for each industry. Different cities acting as manufacturing hubs, for Textiles, Chemicals, Plastics, Metal objects, ceramics, Handicrafts, and many submarkets in individual cities which source from these bigger hubs within India. Most Electronics come from China, but you can get each individual part here as well. Search "Nehru place computer market". I wish someone made such a documentary on India. Scotty, You da man!

  28. this ecosystem utterly amazing and impressive.

    They are trailblazers in mass biking (and production of ebike motors), electronics recycling, solar panel production volumes and the list goes on and on but they love coal, raid other countries resources (just like the west) and things like this happen: https://nyti.ms/2VKSz0l

    What is the average person from china's take on future of industry and production in china? I know very little about chinese culture but I would love to know more! do you see the environmental issues resolving themselves naturally? do the days of the "nike sweatshop" still prevail in china? if not, how did you resolve these issues? are there any cool new community planning or production plans that someone learning about chinese policy could read about?

    Thanks in advance to any commenters.

    sincerely someone who thinks the Chinese supply chain/business ecosystem is super cool!

  29. The working artists also owned their production.

    A Healthy economy and populace requires a distribution of the ownership of production. This essentially works like a coop, or q socialist work structure.

    It's dissappearance will likely coincide with a sequestration of ownership to a few individuals and a concentration of wealth away from the majority of people and into thr pockets of w few theives, whose method of theft is this "industrial renovation".

  30. Not convienced because every words where hyped up . Without any actual reason it was just like comments passed without working in their creative or technical field , your suggestions are same as a tourist who has lived in their 3 or 4 days. You seem to be happy when you see Machines coping human work . See Machines Can Copy Fast and for Humans Copying is just a part of learning , if you think closely about it even you exist because you have one copy each of your parents DNA right you don't seem critic about that Rethink what copy means while you work and please dont just read do work then make your own understanding of the word copy . Another point is Drawing or Painting requires patience and Patience require slowing down which requires discipline .Important Discipline comes from work you do daily in another way what you do daily is most important. In your case Walking gives you energy but energy is just a totally out of topic here. We want talks about technical aspect . I felt like you shouldn't have recorded the vide You should just sleep you are hyped up . Each individual should flourish in their own way . Without creativity people would be lost . Machines should be learnt fast art should be watched slowly.

  31. Chinese Hustle! Basically it is the law of the jungle, adapt or die. Raw material is everywhere you just have to assemble it to become something people will pay for.

  32. Damnit this is your best video but compared to other iPhone mods this gets much less views I wonder why. Just wanted to say I enjoy watching your works and thank you!

  33. Scottie, I really love your enthusiasm in your videos and they really make me want to visit Shenzhen in China just to wander around the Miriam or markets with my boys, thinking of things we could make. Please keep up the awesome videos and new exciting projects. Cheers.

  34. the iphone charger slot to a usb-c slot,,,中国大陆ss/ssr翻墙机场梯子VPN来了,支持翻墙回国,超低月费,每月仅需11.9元/100G流量!4K秒开,不限速,40+条线路任选,免费体验网址:shidonglivip点xyz

  35. This looks much like here in São Paulo, Brazil. I think you really should come to Brazil and see how does São Paulo has similarities to Shenzhen, and how a lot of those Chinese immigrants had brought this paradigm here.

  36. It's just a pleasure watching your videos.,,,中国大陆ss/ssr翻墙机场梯子VPN来了,支持翻墙回国,超低月费,每月仅需11.9元/100G流量!4K秒开,不限速,50+条线路任选,免费体验网址:shidonglivip点top

  37. Regardless of what peeps saying about this kinda stuff (mass producing,fake,counter part,oem) those kinda things,its pretty fun to watch as "education" pov,it will also makes us somehow aware what fake and whats not,thou its kinda hard to do
    But watching em having those kinda mass producing technology is still amaze me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *