3 Examples of Old-school Electronics Making a Comeback in China

A wave of 2000s nostalgia in China is fueling an unexpected demand for old tech — cameras, phones, and the Nintendo 3DS — among hip Chinese youth.

An acronym for ‘charged-coupled device,’ CCD technology was the standard in nearly all digital imaging devices from the 1980s until the late 2010s, when complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) sensors gradually took over due to their higher framerates and being easier and cheaper to manufacture.

CCD Camera


Popularized by Chinese celebrities and influencers, CCD cameras are making the rounds among amateur photographers again.  Some people are obsessed with the vintage quality of pictures they produce, which have the look of fuzzy film photography.

Although some Gen Zers never had any experience using the fourth-gen iPhones when they were released in the 2010s, they have fallen in love with the retro-looking pictures produced by the old smartphones. Some are also nostalgic about the iPhone’s home button, which has been defunct since 2017.

iPhone 4


Nintendo 3DS is another item on many nostalgic Chinese youths’ must-have lists, even though the handheld gaming console, launched worldwide in 2011, was officially discontinued in 2020.

Nintendo 3DS


To them, the 3DS represents a “cute-looking,” cost-effective, and accessible Nintendo console for beginners.     Moreover, gamers can still use the device to play classic titles, such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Animal Crossing, while enjoying its stereoscopic 3D effects without requiring additional accessories.

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