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Buying Abroad Eg Singapore


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#1 petetherock

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 03:26 PM

Firstly, I am NOT a dealer or do I have shares in these places / shops.

But when I was going around looking for an amp, speakers etc, it pained me to see how much more prices in NSW were compared to say Singapore or Hong Kong, shipping notwithstanding.

Anyway when the time came, I plucked up enough couraged and bought my gear and brought it over.

So I wish to share the shops, some prices and also encourage people to shop around cos the nett cost plus even an air ticket and a short holiday is still cheaper than buying in say Sydney.

Keywords for easy searching: import; importing ; parallel ; shipping ; GST ; authorised dealer ; agent ;


Firstly, the pro of a local dealer:
- service
- warranty
- technical expertise
- product less likely to run the risk of being damaged, and if it is DOA, an exchange is easily sorted out

The cons:
- the local dealer may charge a much higher price
- service may be only half decent


The pros of doing it yourself, or via a professional shipper:

- price = the difference in price can be quite significant (will list some examples later and others can chip in)
- better features
- not available locally

Cons:
- the risk of damage
- voltage issues (more on this later)
- claiming warranty or this may be non-existent
- the product may not work locally (tuner channels, NTSC TV sets only)
- complicated shipping
- non-existent shipping
- high tax / cost of shipping
- lousy shipping (more on the choices of shipping)

I think we all know the main reason is COST, and the key is how much we can save, and is it worthwhile?




Shipping choices:

In all cases, caveat emptor, and buy insurance if the item is very expensive.

Direct shipping:

For Discs, and books, this method is simple and Amazon offers an excellent track record. I highly recommend them. But they do not ship many electronics and other items.

Barnes and Noble have recently dropped the ball, so be careful. Deep Discount takes a long time and so does Amazon Canada.

Traditional:
DHL, FEDEX etc

Some companies in USA offer such services, as they have experience in shipping overseas. Others do not, and only ship to local addresses. This also applies to UK and many other nations, so check first.


Voltage:

Many items from USA and other places come only in 110V.
Others use a universal voltage system, so check with the vendor. Some come switched to 110V so check before you plug in!!

Places like Japan have models for export which are 220-240v, but cost more.

Get it in writing that it will work with our 230-240v system. Some tube amps are even more fussy, and owners want it set correctly.

YMMV...

As for step down transformers:

You should get one which handles more power than you need. If the peak consumption of the device is 1000w, don't get one that only handles the RMS wattage.



The first item:

Televisions, TVs:

Pros:
USA offers one of the cheapest TVs in the world, and they can be almost half our cost. You can try Australia, but there are very few shipping options, unless you have friends.

Some have new features and better remotes.

Cons:
Most TVs from USA are not universal voltage and run only on 110v. That goes for Japan and other sources.
You can check but get it in writing since it is hard to return or repair if the TV fries
Most are NTSC
The cost of shipping is prohibitive, unless you know a cheap source
TV panels can be very fragile.

Amplifiers and other hi fi electronics :

Again check for voltage and warranty issues. For amplifiers and Cd players, there is also the issue of hum and the use of the transformer. The weight of the amp may also incur a high shipping cost.

Speakers:

Now this is when it gets exciting.
No voltage issues except for subwoofers.

If you don’t mind warranty risks, you can carry back, ship speakers and many other places offer significant discounts.

Places to shop:

USA offers many alternatives to buy, and many products are cheaper, or not available here.

You just need to go through the checklist highlighted in the first few posts and assess the risk for yourself.

Hong Kong is another haven, for speakers, HT gear.

China is the factory of the world and when you look for alternatives, there are plenty.

Be careful of knock offs, fakes etc. Many big name items are not cheaper there, especially if you take the shipping into account.

But for cables, tube amps that originate from China, it’s a shopper’s paradise.

Do note some of them only deal locally, and payment is not easy.

Taiwan offers speakers and other items, but do note the voltage issues.

Singapore and UK offer the advantage of having no voltage issues, but the shipping choices are more limited.

But for UK, if you buy off Amazon UK, you get VAT back which is an important savings.


Tax and GST

Buyers should know anything above $1000 is taxable. There are also laws on what can be brought in. Do read the relevant websites.


In particular, Singapore and Hong Kong are very good sources and in many situations, worth the risk. YMMV.

Edited by petetherock, 14 May 2012 - 01:28 PM.


#2 petetherock

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 03:35 PM

Some shops:
There is a thread on shopping in HKG, so I won't try to duplicate it


Singapore:
I like some shops, because they tend to entertain me better, regardless of where I am from.


There are two main places, Sim Lim Square (SLS) and Adelphi (AL)

SLS
This is the computer, electronics and hi fi hive of the country, and things can be a little chaotic for tourists. Compe preapred with prices, know your merchandise and stick to it you will be fine.
The prices can be cheaper, but demos are hard to come by or the environment is poor.

Shops:

City Electronics (yamaha), Merdeka (Marantz, Pioneer, NAD etc) Worof of Audio; Hung Brothers (PA systems, headphones, mikes)


AL:
More upmarket look, and caters to more esoteric brands but can be very affordable and demos are easier to come by

Shops:

KEC - B/W/ Onkyo Marantz Epos etc look for Patrick and Clarence

Seng Heng - basement look for Mr SK Lee +6593378835

Precision Audio - Monitor Audio - cheapest prices in the world I reckon, (eg Aus <1k for Monitor Audio RS 6)

Anson Audio


Many others

Some rules of thumb - they are busiest during Saturdays and after hours, so go on a weekday after lunch. Most close on Sunday

Demos are ok when they are not busy

Know your prices and don't get pressured into buying accessories or if that chap asks you to get another model, walk out if you feel funny

You can claim 7% GST on anything more than $300

Most do not have online retail, and cash is best.

#3 petetherock

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 03:36 PM

A forum I found on the hi fi scene in Singapore:


http://www.echoloft.....cgi?board=tell

Another concentrating more on HT:

http://www.xtremepla....php?board=11.0

#4 petetherock

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 03:44 PM

Some recent prices i got from a mate:

Onkyo 605 - Aus$ 615
Onyko 805 - Aus$ 1230

Marantz SR 8001 - Aus $ 1250

Sony PS3 (Region A) - $620 or less

You can still claim GST on these prices

#5 petetherock

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 03:45 PM

The thread on buying from HKG:



http://www.dtvforum.info/index.php?showtop...mp;hl=hong+kong


http://www.dtvforum....uying hong kong

#6 regis169

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 10:30 PM

Some recent prices i got from a mate:

Onkyo 605 - Aus$ 615
Onyko 805 - Aus$ 1230

Marantz SR 8001 - Aus $ 1250

Sony PS3 (Region A) - $620 or less

You can still claim GST on these prices


But do Onkyos offer international warranty?

#7 ccs

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 10:40 PM

There are two main places, Sim Lim Square (SLS) and Adelphi (AL)

petetherock has provided useful advice for Singapore. Let me add my own experience.

I use Sim Lim to get prices and generally find that Adelphi have similar prices. Sim Lim is like a bazaar and most shops do not have listening rooms. Most of the Adelphi shops do have listening rooms and tend to take you more seriously, hence a better shopping ambiance. I have purchased from KEC a number of times and do recommend them.

You do get a better deal with cash, but if stuck, can use a credit card for 2% extra and then get hit by a poorer exchange rate from your credit card company (but still save substantially).

Singapore prices are half to two thirds Oz prices, and without warranty. So need to weigh up whether it is worth the effort and risk. Also, please note that Customs has a limit of A$900 per adult before they impose duty.

Do a search of Singapore and you will come up with threads on shopping there.

As pointed out above, there are also threads on Hong Kong, which is generally cheaper than Singapore.

For both places, it is best if you do your research prior to going there, know your Oz prices, know what you want to get and then shop around in a number of stores. Please do not expect Oz AV specialist store experience and advice. It is closer to shopping at HN, but at a much lower price.

#8 petetherock

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 12:10 AM

I don't think so, so that is a risk you have to consider when factoring the tremendous cost savings.

Another model the Marantz SR 9600 is SG$ 4300

But do Onkyos offer international warranty?



#9 ausnew

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 08:30 PM

Interestingly enough, I went to Singapore about 4 weeks ago. and found the prices not to be all that good at all.

Sim Lim Square - Be careful in this place, I got the feeling that most of them were rogues. I have firiends who live there, and they know to avoid the cheap PS3's etc as what you end up getting in a box can be different to what is on the shelf, so be aware. Take it out of the box in the shop before you leave, and insist on testing it

#10 petetherock

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 09:16 PM

I reckon the chaps in SLS will not bat an eyelid to charge more, but if they sense you know your stuff, its ok. There are fixed price shops eg Mustafa which is 24 hrs and is still considerably cheaper than Oz, but they carry mainstream electronics rather than audiophile stuff.

Plus its open 24hrs. Located in Little India, ask any cab driver.

#11 zorg

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 07:34 AM

ssssh don't tell anyone tiger airways offering $499 return from Melbourne to Singapore..... at that price potentially worth the trip? however there is a catch it is via Darwin and plus taxes comes to just over $700

#12 ccs

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 08:22 AM

Interestingly enough, I went to Singapore about 4 weeks ago. and found the prices not to be all that good at all.

Sim Lim Square - Be careful in this place, I got the feeling that most of them were rogues. I have firiends who live there, and they know to avoid the cheap PS3's etc as what you end up getting in a box can be different to what is on the shelf, so be aware. Take it out of the box in the shop before you leave, and insist on testing it

Prices is Singapore for audio products are significantly cheaper. It used to be similar for digital cameras, but Oz prices have come down significantly, so the difference is in the order of 10-20%, but with international warranty. In other words, it may not be worth your while to buy there. I suspect that applies to PS3's as well.

As for Sim Lim, it is always the case of buyer - beware! Know your products and prices and check the goods. And you will need to bargain. It is the same shopping anywhere in Asia.

#13 petetherock

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 10:13 AM

It depends on how much you are buying in Singapore, and the weight limit allowed

eg a mid-range amp will save you 1000 so if you can lug it, thats not bad


As for PS3, the current pricing in Singapore is $799 or less, which translates into less than 615Aus$

I don't think we can get that anywhere in Oz new :)



ssssh don't tell anyone tiger airways offering $499 return from Melbourne to Singapore..... at that price potentially worth the trip? however there is a catch it is via Darwin and plus taxes comes to just over $700



#14 zorg

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 10:27 AM

sounds good yes if you were after an amp, blu ray or hd-dvd player and ps3 etc... just dependent on customs duty and weight limits etc... wonder if I could get in and out in a day hehehehe

#15 petetherock

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 10:31 AM

Even if you couldn't a hotel isn't that bad, or at a stretch, the Changi airport is far more comfortable and offers snooze areas, showers etc.
A bit extreme I reckon, but it might be worth it :)

Buying the PS2 (region A mind you) plus an amp or high end CD player will do the trick

Or keeping shopping at the 24hr Mustafas whilst waiting for the flight


sounds good yes if you were after an amp, blu ray or hd-dvd player and ps3 etc... just dependent on customs duty and weight limits etc... wonder if I could get in and out in a day hehehehe



#16 AndyM

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 10:39 PM

What sort of duty is charged by customs? I understand duty is not payable on the first $900, is that right?

#17 cyberplank

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 11:00 PM

No, you get $900 duty free. If you spend more than $900 you pay duty and tax on everything.

#18 DNIC63

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 06:08 AM

A mate has bought several things from World Audio Centre in Singapore. They are apparently quite obliging with invoices, repacking with box turned inside out etc. He's bought 2 Denon AVRs this way.

Dave C

#19 quijibo

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 08:43 PM

Some recent prices i got from a mate:

Onkyo 605 - Aus$ 615
Onyko 805 - Aus$ 1230

Marantz SR 8001 - Aus $ 1250

Sony PS3 (Region A) - $620 or less

You can still claim GST on these prices


If these are real, somebody needs to organise a group buy from Singapore....

#20 Muzzer

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 09:04 PM

If these are real, somebody needs to organise a group buy from Singapore....


They are real and you can get 240 Volt units but unfortunately all they have in Onkyo is units that are coloured gold!
Bummer.....

#21 petetherock

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 09:07 PM

Why don't you find out the shipping costs?
I have good mates who can ship over for you, buy them items.
Some may even do shipping, eg KEC in Adelphi compex.

If these are real, somebody needs to organise a group buy from Singapore....



#22 ccs

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 09:32 PM

Why don't you find out the shipping costs?
I have good mates who can ship over for you, buy them items.
Some may even do shipping, eg KEC in Adelphi compex.

The problem with shipping out is that you loose the $900 duty free limit/adult, which is part of the attraction. So, if you are traveling with the spouse plus 2 kids, you could do $2,700 duty free... :D

Lucky that you have good mates who can do the shopping and the shipping.

While I have recommended KEC as a place to personally shop, they are not necessarily the epitome of good customer service. They are so busy that they tend to not remember you and they do not answer emails promptly, if at all! Yes, they do shipping, but I am not sure that they can be relied upon do this remotely ie you place order via phone or email, you bank transfer, they ship. I rather be in your position on calling on your mates to help.

#23 petetherock

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 11:34 PM

I wont do it as a business, but if there are enough mates interested and there is trust, I can do some kind of mass order, ask my friend to do some shipping etc.
I have done good business with KEC, so they treat me fairly well :)

Go figure if the risk is worth it :)

#24 petetherock

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 11:57 PM

Another update:

Monitor Audio Rs6 costs 1k

Felt I had to put this as the RSP mentioned in another thread was about 2k.

B/w CM 1 - 1k

Epos ELS 3 is about 3xx$

#25 petetherock

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 01:44 PM

Since some of you asked here is the KEC contact

** I don't work for them **

kecsound@gmail.com

Email is slow, best to call after 11am Singapore time

+6565643188