Why China is the Top Country for Product Prototyping
Although there are prototyping services in numerous countries around the world, China provides one-of-a-kind advantages to entrepreneurs and manufacturers alike. Let’s take a look at why China is the best place to prototype products before they launch globally.
Labor cost is lower
While labor costs in China are still cheaper than those of other high-tech economies like Japan and South Korea, they use more advanced machinery and better manufacturing processes to make products cheaper, faster, and higher in quality. Allowing these firms to set lower prices, such efficiency come from better use of technology (like robots) and closer monitoring of labor schedules to minimize downtime (i.e. breaks taken by workers). These different factors increased efficiency and lower wages, which mean that Chinese manufacturers are capable of supplying a higher quantity of products at a lower cost than anywhere else in the world.
They take care of it all
Some Chinese prototyping shops provide all the help you need to build a prototype. On-staff designers, 3D printers, and injection molders will give your ideas form and shape. if you purchase a package deal, they’ll do all of your work for you. Startup founders love this because it lets them focus on what they do best. Even better: specialized prototyping companies are popping up in increasing numbers, with faster-than-normal manufacturing processes, which work well for small startups aiming to get specific things accomplished.
For example, if you’re building a medical device, you might want to partner with a firm that specializes in the design and manufacture of medical devices. These firms know the details that the regulatory agencies such as FDA need to make sure that you’re following their protocols and as such you don’t need to concern yourselves with that information. Entrepreneurs who are launching hardware-based products should work closely with these experts from the earliest phases of the project.
Inexpensive prototyping and large-scale manufacturing allow product developers to innovate at an unprecedented pace. Chinese factories offer lower costs, shorter lead times, and larger production volumes than other countries. Companies like Apple have established relationships with Chinese manufacturers for over a decade. Today, a large percentage of Apple’s products are manufactured in China—including final assembly for some parts (e.g., cables and batteries). While there are many factors that come into play when deciding where to locate production, high speed of prototype delivery has become increasingly important as consumers demand better turnaround times on pre-orders.
Since they make 3D printers with helpful software to make them easier to use, Chinese manufacturers also preload their 3D engineers with more industry experience, because they typically hire skilled workers who are experienced with manufacturing similar products or work with experienced consultants. Due to its large population, the talent pool in China is nothing comparable to those in other countries. It’s been difficult to close this sizable gap.
While in the past China’s reputation has been that of a country that has stolen technologies and has relied on a copier culture, it’s now on the verge of becoming a leading economic power. Beijing’s top leaders are beginning to think that innovation, not imitation, can be the solution to some of the country’s problems and that it can create new industries and jobs, as well. They believe that innovation will lead to economic growth and more opportunities. nearly 700 universities in China have revamped their names to incorporate innovation, signifying an emphasis on teaching for research and development. Only a few years ago, these schools focused solely on providing the lowest common denominator of engineering training, churning out manufactured products for countries around the world.
Home-made tech forces
One of the reasons why Chinese startups can prototype at such an accelerated rate is that they take advantage of local tech hubs. These facilities allow startups to rent office space, equipment, and more–eliminating expensive overhead costs while also fostering a sense of community and support. For a tech startup’s success in prototyping its product, being closer to industry experts and resources as well as proximity to large financial markets might be just as important as proximity to Silicon Valley’s startups and innovation.
For instance, take Huaqiangbei in Shenzhen for prototyping needs. With processors, motors, sensors, and circuit boards, this massive market has all of the electronic components imaginable. This place would be like a godsend for an entrepreneur! Don’t worry, those needing a startup engineer or product designer needn’t walk the thin line of distributors or manufacturers – they can take to the equally harrowing but far shorter task of searching Huaqiangbei Street instead! Of course, they also gain an attractive other benefit, though access to information.
Shield Works’ in-house engineering team is well-seasoned and bilingual, and we have over 17 years of product prototyping experience in China. Contact us now for more!