Business Idea Feedback Requested From Senior Expats

BankNote

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I needed suggestions from you guys.

I do understand that doing business profitably in Argentina is the last thing, you can do on Earth.

I also understand that its stupid to even attempt it. But for a moment if we kept all the negatives aside, would love your feedback.

Quality cellphones are in big demand here in Buenos Aires. Many of us or our friends have been mugged for their cellphones. We also know that a new Iphone 6 or Samsung Galaxy6 can easily cost 900 usd or more, here or equivalent price in Blue rate.

Some of my friends manufacture smart phones which are of very good quality and do most of the things that a Samsung galaxy 5 or 6 does and these phone sell very cheap in the country of manfacture under a local unknown brand. ( rather not name the country or the brand..as its irrelevant)

But if we would want to sell these phones at less that half the price of a new Samsung galaxy 6 or iphone 6...would there be a market for this? And how to get the required license, distributors, custom clearance ( yes, palms would need to be greased), etc?

yes, I know it sounds insane and stupid suicidal, but any possible positive suggestions would be appreciated.

P.S :- I may add these guys took this phone to a well known East European country, where these phones are selling like hot cakes and more popular than the Iphones or Samsung Galaxy. So the product as such is good with a great cost of manufacture.
 

RodalfoWalsh

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If you really want to sell cheap (ish) knock off cellphones, the business would be to manufacture them here, get the government on board for the Nac and Pop aspect and have them subsidize the plant, open the import door for components, fast track the licensing, subsidize the price for low income consumers, and back purchases in 12 installments with 0% interest for the rest.

Talk about inclusión social digital and tell them you can make a 30second FBT spot play when you open an app and Alicia Kirchner will probably buy 20 million units.
 

mikic007

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I actually see a lot of "fakes" around, that look like Samsung high level phones and iPhone and are sold for half price. However, specs are way lower and I never tried any of these. I tried fake Chinese iPhones and they are mostly worse than cheaper Huawei or other low ends. People buy them only to look like they have real thing...

There is a reason, why top phones are so expensive - everyone want them. Even if you can't buy iPhone officially in Argentina, half of bs as have them. So money obviously isn't an issue here.

In my opinion you can't beat real thing and their generics here, even if you have superior product cheaper. I never saw any oppo or oneplus here, not even nexus 5 and their price/performance is higher than anything available here...

And officially selling this things? I think better to try with Apple then, trouble will be probably the same,output significantly better.
 

Rich One

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you would have to compete with knock off Chinese cells being sold here in B.A. Do a simple market study in Mercado Libre Some S5 chinos y Coreanos sell for US$200 aprox.


http://celulares.mercadolibre.com.ar/celulares-chinos_ItemTypeID_N
 

ElQueso

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Importing is your biggest block right now. I don't know how much of the new phones for sale cheap on mercadolibre are smuggled in. They just recently caught a container of electronic goods being smuggled in (as an aside, one of the guys I talk to in the blue market tells me this is a way people are bringing "money" back into the country in the form of smuggled electronics bought with the money they have in accounts overseas and sell here on mercadolibre).

The amount of corruption and politics involved in doing this legally, coupled with the assembly factories Samsung has here, probably factored with sweat-heart deals the Chinese have and will be getting more of, doesn't seem like it would be a good thing to try to get into to make money. If you can figure out some way to smuggle them in and are OK with the possible consequences, you would still be competing with those who do it now and they may not look too favorably on that. Not to mention the consequences for foreigners smuggling if caught.

Anything to do related to setting up a factory here to make them would be worth considering, as Rodolfo suggested, would probably work (unless Samsung has some kind of exclusive deal you may have to work around) but we're talking a fairly big investment in infrastructure - even be it small, you'd have to rent an assembly shop and the equipment needed, deal with customs agents on importing the components, all the taxes and labor issues and greasing-the-hands requirements, etc ad infinitum.

If you want to make money here in Argentina (at least as a sure thing with relatively minimum investment), open up a place that serves cheap beer and cheap munchy food to the 18-25 crowd and you'll make a fortune.
 

Joe

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There are already cheap Chinese cellphones in Argentina. Most people know that they are of extremely low quality from experience or from a friend that dropped it once and the screen broke and was rendered unrepairable...

If you can smuggle them in reliably though you will make money (and maybe go to jail).
 

semigoodlookin

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Another problem is the budget smartphone market actually coming on leaps and bounds. Your friends' phones are not flagships, they may appear to be but their hardware is not up to scratch as they are knock-offs, the components are not official, are almost certainly poor quality to maintain low cost, and simply will not run like iPhones or Samsung's Galaxy S6's. If you think they do, you're wrong... what OS are they running? The iPhone 6 copy (let's say they are based on these devices to remain polite) is not running iOS and the Android devices are probably running the platform, but a forked version of it.

Okay, so the consumer could get a device that looks like an iPhone, presuming they are only interested in the aesthetic. If you sell these devices for 3-5000, why would someone rather that than a Moto G for example, or numerous Lumia's, improving large Chinese brands (Huawei, Xiaomi, Lenovo etc.), HTC's expansion in emerging markets, and of course Samsung's budget handsets? Those devices are underpowered compared to a flagship, but so would the devices you are selling. Plenty of budget smartphones look good these days (I am not speaking about entry level, which is also getting better) and with some of the companies I listed above you get good build quality, gurantees, future updates (in most cases), and peace of mind.

I honestly cannot see who your devices would appeal to. Sure, there is always a market that wants knock-offs, but you would probably have to sell your products in Liniers and for a few hundred pesos.

I know better than most the pains caused by a lack of high end hardware in this country. I am a writer who specializes in tech (I won't give the websites I write for) and have missed out on jobs with CNET and PhoneArena in the last four years for one reason... I live in Argentina and shipping review units to me is next to impossible. The company I work for at the moment lets me ship the review units to a friend in the UK who then does a questionaire review for me that I write up. It is a pain in the ass and I have missed out on loads of freebies for being here (for example, Sprint offering me 10 HTC One M9's for me and my family if I wrote an article about them offering the device, not even a puff piece either).

I am the one tech journalist at the likes of MWC and IFA who has not used all of the latest gear, simply because I would have to buy it to test it.

Off track I know, back to the advice... don't do it.
 

HenryNisental

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You can import foreign products if you pay custom duties, and even so you need to have a little patience. With the end of the CEPO things will be back to normal next year, I think.
 

ajoknoblauch

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You can import foreign products if you pay custom duties, and even so you need to have a little patience. With the end of the CEPO things will be back to normal next year, I think.

For Argentina, what's in force now has long been "normal," with slight variations. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the end of the cepo (which, says the government, doesn't even exist).
 
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