5 Shenzhen Companies You Should Know

by | August 27, 2018

5 Shenzhen Companies You Should Know

August 27, 2018

Shenzhen is the new Silicone Valley of China , as it has a huge tech focus. Shenzhen is also in the heart of the Greater Bay Area. A name which is most certainly a nod to the Bay Area in San Francisco. We have already written before about successful foreign companies in China you can learn from. However, which successful Shenzhen companies should you know? In this article we will list a few and why these should be on your radar. Get ready for some acronyms of these relatively young companies




Huawei is the first of our 5 Shenzhen companies you should know. Huawei is one of the more famous brands from China. Even though it is well known, many people do not have a clear idea about the actual size of this ginormous company. First of all, Huawei’s name is pronounced incorrectly very often, so let us set that straight: it is pronounced hwɑːˌweɪ.


Huawei was founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, a former engineer in the People’s Liberation Army. At the time of its establishment, Huawei focused on manufacturing phone switches, but has since expanded its business tremendously. Currently, their phones are some of the top models in the world right now. Huawei also provides 5G services and equipment to countries.

At this moment, Huawei is a global fortune 100 company. They are the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world and the second largest smartphone manufacturer after Samsung.



With brands like WeChat and QQ, Tencent is a company known by many people outside of China. Still, the size of this company is dwarfing many Western technology companies. Therefore Tencent could not be left out in this article about Shenzhen companies you should know.

Tencent is one of the largest internet and technology companies and the world’s biggest investment corporation. QQ is a social media platform owned by Tencent with 850 million monthly users. WeChat even has 963 million monthly users. Tencent does not stop at these platforms. Their services include music, web portals, e-commerce, mobile games, internet services, payment systems, smartphones, and multiplayer online games All these services are among the world’s biggest and most successful in their respective categories.

The company only started in 1998, but its value is gigantic. Tencent Cloud services is valued at 3.3 billion USD and WeBank alone is valued at 5.5 Billion USD. And these are even some of the less known services to foreigners! The total valuation of Tencent and all its services as of January 2018 is 580 billion USD.



BYD stands for Build Your Dreams, an acronym that is perfect in Shenzhen. This brand might be one of the less famous Shenzhen companies compared to Huawei and Tencent However BYD is definitely a company you need to keep your eye on regardless.


Noteworthy is that BYD consists of two different departments, BYD Automobile and BYD Electronic. BYD Electronic manufactures handset components and is active in assembling mobile phones for customers such as Motorola and Nokia.

BYD Automobile, on the other hand, was founded in 2003. It is an automobile manufacturer and its principal activity is the design, development, manufacture and distribution of electric automobiles, buses, electric bicycles, forklifts, rechargeable batteries and trucks.

In 2013, BYD sold more than 500.000 passenger cars in China. In 2015, BYD Automobile was the best-selling electric vehicle brand world-wide. Also, the company is backed by Warren Buffet’s investment firm with almost 25% and has a joint-venture with Daimler.



The previous companies are all active in tech, however BGI is active in life sciences. BGI stands for Beijing Genome Institute, which was its official name until 2008. BGI has been founded in 1999 and currently is the world’s largest genome sequencing company.

BGI is known for first to sequence and assemble mammalian and human genomes with short-read sequencing. The world renowned scientific magazine Nature ranked BGI Shenzhen as the fourth among the ten top institutions in China with all the others being universities and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2010. The ranking was based on articles in Nature research journals.

In 2014, BGI was reported to be producing 500 cloned pigs a year that are used to test new medicines.



For this company we go back to tech. The industry Shenzhen is known for. DJI is a Shenzhen based company known for their unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) a.k.a. drones. DJI’s drones are 50%-70% of the global consumer market. This makes the company one of the largest manufacturers of unmanned drones for recreational use. Furthermore, the company is currently valued at 10 billion USD and in 2021 it is estimated that 4 million consumer drones from DJI will be in use.

The drones of DJI are used in global production of the music, television and film industries. They were used in, for example, Better Call Saul, Game of Thrones, the Amazing Race and many more. The company is so important for the film industry, that in 2017 a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award was given to DJI.




SenseTime is the last our Shenzhen companies you should know. This company is known for their expertise in artificial intelligence and facial recognition. Hundreds of well-known companies and government agencies use their services in industries like smartphones, finance, security and automobile. SenseTime is therefore regarded as the largest global start-up company in AI, since it has only been founded in 2014 and is already valued at 1.5 billion USD.

SenseTime was founded as an academic project from the CUHK. The project was subsequently commercialized in 2015 and Xu Li become the CEO. A year after commercialization, they launched their first products. These were facial recognition systems, which are now used by the Chinese government as one of the main clients. In the beginning of this year the company raised 1.2 billion USD in capital and is now valued at 1.5 billion USD. Xu Li, the CEO of SenseTime, is on Forbes list as number 7 on 2018’s 40 under 40 list.

Other Companies in Shenzhen

Of course there are many other impressive companies in Shenzhen. What makes this city great is the spirit of limitless possibilities and ease of inventing. Shenzhen is chockful of inventors, engineers, technicians and other great minds working on the future’s inventions. Prototyping in Europe takes around 4-5 weeks and 100.000 – 200.000 USD. In Shenzhen 2-3 days and 30-50k USD. This alone brings many companies with great ideas to Shenzhen. Maybe one day your company will be one of the great Shenzhen companies you should know.

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