There's a thriving used-computer market in Dubai. Scores of shops in the Computer Lane in Bur Dubai sell scores of second-hand computers and notebooks everyday. These computers and notebooks are bought in bulk from banks and corporations...

By Sushil Kutty (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Sun 17 Apr 2005, 12:18 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 5:58 PM

that are regulary upgrading their systems and dumping "obsolete ware" to keep up with the march of technology. The lure to the buyer: The near-perfect condition of the machine, and the price, which could be as low as Dh250.

Most buyers — largely Indians and Pakistanis — go in for used computers if the configurations tally with their requirements, and if the machine works. Of course, the price has to fit the pocket, which it generally does.

"A perfectly working machine with the potential to go on for a long time even after putting in a longer time is a dream buy," says Jose Kurian, a currency broker and computer addict. "A computer is a must for those like me who deal in foreign currency. I had the option of buying a new one on instalments but then somebody told me about the used-computer market in Bur Dubai, and I landed a perfectly working specimen which suits my pocket, and my requirements."

Banks and big businesses are forced to keep pace with the ever changing technology. "Banks and corporations have to provide their executives with latest laptops every two to three years. A relatively old notebook is bad publicity for the image of the corporation or bank. Therefore, it is necessary to equip to executives with the latest expensive notebook computer," says a source from a major bank in Dubai.

This is where the second-hand computer dealer steps in. He buys used notebooks and computers from banks and corporations, who get a price for them even if it is less than 25 per cent of the original price. "Till a few years ago, at least the banks used to just distribute them to their employees, for free," says the source.

He says notebooks are sold at a slightly higher price, but even that is still a fraction of the original price.

The sale is usually done by way of bids, which are normally always blind because the bank or corporation does not have the time to test every computer that it wants to sell or discard. Care, however, is taken to remove all corporate information from these computers before they are sold to the used-computer dealer.

The used-computer merchant cleans and polishes these notebooks and computers, going to the extent of repairing some of them, and displays them, to be sold at a good enough profit. Most of the used computers are sold without warranty.

A used computer dealer in Bur Dubai told City Times that some of the dealers import notebooks and desktops from Western countries. They buy them at very low prices and get them transported to the UAE by container-loads, to be sold later from outlets in Computer Lane.

Used computers are fancied by a variety of people. Those who have switched over from manually maintained registers to computerized accounting systems are at an advantage, says the source from a bank. Those with limited budgets also go in for used computers. The cost of the software combined with the cost of new computers is generally too prohibitive for small-sized companies, and individuals craving for a computer/laptop. Used computers come in handy, especially if they have the minimal configuration of hard disk space and memory.

Then again, the only moving parts in a computer are the floppy drive, and the hard disk, says an industry source. The rest of the components are static and do not undergo any wear and tear. They do not need much in terms of maintenance.

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