Grey market developing for Microsoft Surface in underserved areas

image reports that grey market importers are importing Microsoft Surface tablets into the United Arab Emirates and selling them at premium prices.

"Demand has been good, we ordered a small lot to begin with and it sold out. More is on the way," said Ashish Panjabi, the chief operating officer of Jacky’s Electronics.

No launch plans for the tablet in the UAE has been announced yet.  "We want to do things when we are ready and have the right products set to make sure customers are happy," Gustavo Fuchs, the head of mobility at Microsoft Gulf told The National before the launch.

Jumbo is retailing the Surface for Dh2,699 (US$734) with its original cover. Normally grey market imports are actually around 10% cheaper than official imports, as they do not have to include the cost of the warranty, vs the 50% premium the Surface often demands.

"There has been a lot of hype and demand for the new platform. The grey market happens because of availability. If we do not go grey, we lose out on sales opportunities," said Nadeem Khanzadah, the head of retail at Jumbo.

The higher pricing is driven by demand from eager technophiles in the region.

"I run a trading company and I wanted the Surface because it has all the Microsoft software, like Word and PowerPoint, this is important for my business and so I don’t mind paying a little more," said one customer.

Jacky’s decided to work with the grey market to meet demand for the iPad when it was launched first in the United States.

"We would rather go through the official channels, but if people are desperate enough and willing to pay ridiculous prices, then we will source it and sell it at a ridiculous price," said Mr Panjabi. "It is a question of supply and demand."

Are any of our readers craving for the Surface in areas where it is not available? Let us know below.

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