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Tuesday, 30 October 2018 09:59

The unofficial smartphone market, or the market where products from unofficial sources are traded, is losing its importance and diversification.  

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Most privately owned shops now focus on selling iPhones and models from Xiaomi.

Market history

2011-2012 was the time when the unofficial mobile phone market boomed in Vietnam with many shops in Hanoi and HCMC.

In the market, people could buy high-end products of Sky, LG and Samsung brought to Vietnam across the border gates at low prices.

In early 2013, privately operated shops, besides South Korean mobile phones, began selling models from the US and Japan as well. 

Since then, the market has been bustling thanks to attractive prices. The products available are VND2-3 million lower than genuine products distributed through official channels.

But this market is no longer hot, because its low prices no longer exist. Now, with VND4-6 million, users can easily buy devices with glass or metal cover, strong configurations and dual cameras from official distributors and enjoy good post-sale services, which private shops cannot provide.

Manufacturers want unofficial market to disappear

In fact, the products imported through unofficial channels are thorns in manufacturers’ sides.

When entering the Vietnamese market, Xiaomi began applying measures to prevent unofficial imports.

In early 2018, the manufacturer sold Mi A1 model in Vietnam at a lower price than in the home market of China.

After that, it extended the time needed to unlock the boot-loader, which aims to make it difficult for the installation of software on devices.

Not only Xiaomi, but many other manufacturers have also applied pricing policies to restrict influences from the this unofficial market.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 128 GB, for example, has the quoted price of VND23 million. However, if deducting gifts, users can buy it at VND20 million. 

The price is just VND2 million higher than unofficially imported products. The price gap is small enough for users to buy from official distributors to enjoy manufacturers’ warranty policy.

iPhone now the bread of private shops

“The sales of iPhones now make up 60-70 percent of our revenue. The figure sometimes could be up to 80 percent,” said Xuan Tuyen, the owner of a private shop in Hanoi said.

Tuyen also trades some Android models from Xiaomi, Meizu, Nokia, and some Samsung models. However, the sales remain modest.

“Vietnamese believe that the iPhone is more luxurious which can show the upper class of the owners,” he explained.

As officially distributed iPhones are expensive, some users buy unofficially distributed products which have lower prices.


Source: VNN

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