Friday, February 08, 2008

Shopping in KL

It was a rainy Sunday afternoon in Kuala Lumpur when I decided to leave my hotel room and see the city. I was staying a few steps from the famous Petronas Tower, so there was no need for me to discover the place where most tourists and expat workers congregate especially on a Sunday afternoon.

I hailed a cab and asked to be brought to the nearest place where computers, ipods and other gadgets are supposed to be sold cheap. After about ten minutes and ten ringgits later, I closed the door of the cab under a light shower outside a not-so-imposing building.

From the ground floor up I saw the latest original and “hybrid” gadgets – from notebook computers, ipods, accessories, and other equipment only techie guys would enjoy.

I was surprised by the very low prices. Very low indeed that I bought two new Asus Eee PC computers and an 8G Nikon Coolpix camera for the price of a brand new Eee PC in Manila. If only I could walk my way back to the airport I would have bought the 160G external hard drive that was offered to me by a Chinese vendor for only P1,800.

A layman on economics, I wondered why computers and gadgets are priced much cheaper in neighboring countries. Why can't we have it here cheap too? There might be something wrong with how we do business.

1 comment:

Lester Cavestany said...

I find this surprising. I've been to Malaysia many times (because of AirAsia stopovers) and I've always thought that it's more expensive there than in Manila. But maybe not for electronics (and medicines!). Anyway, I'll keep this in mind the next time I'm there. Maybe I can get a new phone or something.

And while we're on this topic, I just would like to share with you and your readers, some facts about Manila that I dug up last year. Apparently, Manila is one of the cheapest metropolitans in the world. In the 2006 global survey done by Mercer Human Resources, the cost of living in Manila is the second cheapest in Asia and the fourth least expensive of the 144 major cities in the world. Another way to measure cost of living is the so-called “Big Mac Index”(BMI) - the cost of a Big Mac in a country is a reflection of the cost of living. In the 2006 BMI survey done by Swiss banking giant UBS, the Philippines is one of the least expensive cities in the world.

Go go Manila! :-)