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Taiwan hardware, computers, etc

I have a friend that is moving to Taiwan for a while.  Will the prices of computers be significantly cheaper than in the US?  Any specific stores he should visit?

I'm looking for a laptop and am wondering what sort of deals (if any) he'll be able to get overseas.

Taiwan?
Thursday, July 08, 2004

There will be a slight discount if he knows how to negotiate. Otherwise it's no different then US and Canada. He can't use the warantee if Taiwan is not his main residence for the duration of the warantee. Any of the major stores will do.

Li-fan Chen
Thursday, July 08, 2004

I don't think you have the option of asking for english Windows by default, so you'll have to buy a copy. Another cost.

Li-fan Chen
Thursday, July 08, 2004

Is there any way to directly deal with the manufacturers to receive a slightly better discount?

Taiwan?
Thursday, July 08, 2004

Not unless you are an employee.

Tony Chang
Thursday, July 08, 2004

Taiwan is where the laptops are made, but as you will probably want a named brand for support you will be paying near US prices. For computers and most other manufactured goods the US is the cheapest place in the world.

Most big brands have an international warranty.

You should have little difficulty getting English Windows preloaded.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, July 08, 2004

I would second what Stephen Jones says, but always check the warantee. There are asian countries where the norm is no international warantee.

I disagree with things being cheaper. If you shop around a bit yeah, but do count in your time and travel as money spent. Another cost saving is buying in bulk and talking to a distributor, but that's a given. You will have to pay customs if you buy too much. Check your customs.

Li-fan Chen
Thursday, July 08, 2004

Stores:

Nova (near Taipei Main station)
Guang Hua Shang Chang (Near Xin Sheng MRT station)

Both of these places are large collections of little stores with fierce competition between the stores.  A person I know recently returned from the US was disappointed to find the the prices here are similar to US prices.

Don't take a taxi from the airport, they cost NT$1000 and a bus fare into the middle of the city is less than NT$200.  Also the buses have more comfy seats.

E-mail me for more details if required.

Andrew
Friday, July 09, 2004

Yeah I would agree with your friend there Andrew, Nova for example wasn't being particularly competitive. However, they are in the middle of the city (it doesn't get much more center of the city than the Taipei Train Station) and they aren't worried about traffic. A lot of regular salary earners (instead of just geeks) go there for service and as long as they get good service they aren't interested in pissing off salespeople with arguing price.

Li-fan Chen
Friday, July 09, 2004

I think there was always this illusion that you are saving a ton of money, but the two biggest basis for that illusion is that you can grab blank CDs and DVDs really really cheap--because the majority of the world's supply are made in Taiwan. If you stack up the german engineers hired into Taiwanese companies to baby sit all the CD manufacturing machines on each other's head they would reach the moon and back. The other major factor is basically pirated music and software. For the longest time Taiwan copyright laws were surprisingly lax, paving the way for countless hungry programmers and a crappy taiwanese software industry. After the law makers realize what was going on, there was some serious clean up in the last 5 years, causing all these famous places like Nova and various gathering places to stop bundling illegal software with their PCs or selling illegal softwares out right. Only a few stores really did all the pirating and once these guys were stopped everyone started to sell software the way the North Americans did--license by license. Yes, you can still buy stuff a little bit cheaper but I don't see it paying for your ticket there.

If you seriously want to save money, you probably have to be a wholesaler with history and credit. You'll have to buy in bulk--serious bulk. Fill up half a ocean freight container or a few air freight containers. It's not that simple a business, you may have to play source to stores like Future Shop or Staples before finding a thin profit.

Li-fan Chen
Friday, July 09, 2004

Are the keyboards the same as the US? I lived in Japan for a while and we had quite different keyboards with Japanese symbols on them and a different arrangement of symbols.

Matthew Lock
Friday, July 09, 2004

Keyboards are NOT the same.  Trying to type Chinese without the extra symbols on our keyboards would send a person postal.  There are extra markings on almost every key but the basic keyboard layout is much the same.

Andrew
Friday, July 09, 2004

Do they have more keys?
Or is it like Arabic where they put a little sticker on the key (if they're cheap lke my MS natural) or actually write it on the keys (like my HP laptop).
In respones to an earlier thread I installed Chinese language support on my desktop, and it appeared perfectly feaslible to type with the standard keyboard.
Incidentally, I always type out different keyboards in 36pt type  and print on a sheet of A4, so if I need to shift language, I can see the letters next to the screen.

Stephen Jones
Friday, July 09, 2004

Same number of keys.

They actually write it onto the keys.  Stickers would be hideously tacky.

Andrew
Friday, July 09, 2004

People *used* to think East Asia was a low-price area for electronics, but I'm pretty sure that was in the days before the internet, when local stores would routinely add huge markups. Now you can go to Pricewatch or Froogle and find most common parts for very little over the manufacturer's price.

The only advantage you might have being in Asia would be saving the cost of shipping components from factory to retailer. But I doubt this is really a significant part of the total price of the item.

Dan Maas
Friday, July 09, 2004

I routinely travel throughout Asia, and they are NOT cheaper at all. In fact, they are more expensive in western hotel or tourist areas precisely because they get westerners who just assume the sticker price must be rock-bottom.

Mr. O
Friday, July 09, 2004

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