Cheap tabs a big hit among low-income expats

 26 Sep 2016 - 9:48

Cheap tabs a big hit among low-income expats
Cheap-priced Chinese tabs attracting lower income expatriates in a local market. Pic: Abdul Basit/The Peninsula

By Irfan Bukhari | The Peninsula

DOHA: The sale of cheap tabs in the local market has grown manifold as they are the main stay of lower-income expats from Asia and Africa.

Like smart phones, tabs are a popular electronic gadget in this age of digital dependency. And the questions revolving around the affordability and price have been addressed by the low-priced products available in the market.

Those who can afford select Apple’s iPad or other competitors from famous companies like Samsung, Huawei etc. and the customers representing lower income groups too are not optionless. They can buy a Chinese tab for just as low as QR89.

The Peninsula observed a number of Chinese and Indian tabs in the market with the prices varying from QR89 to QR300. The price of famous brands increases with the enhancement of specifications like processor core, processor speed, screen size, screen resolution, system memory, hard drive, camera strength etc.

But there is a significant difference depending on the brand and the manufacturer. One can purchase a Samsung 4G tablet having 9.7” screen and 32 GB hard drive for QR1,799 while with identical specifications a made-in-China-tab is available for as low as QR190.

“I am interested in buying a Chinese tab. The choice is due to financial constraints though I know very well that its life will be short,” said Kuldip Singh, an expat from India who was selecting a tab from the existing stock at a hypermarket.

Singh, who was a carrying a smart phone decided to buy a tab as well on the grounds that its big screen would provide extra pleasure in entertainment.  The salesman of the hypermarket told The Peninsula that those low-priced tabs were selling like hotcakes among lower-income expatriates.

Asked about any guarantee for the gadgets, he said that they used to give a warranty not a guarantee. “ Warranty may be for six months or a year depending upon the company policy. In case of any technical fault in the specified time, we offer repair services to the customer but we cannot replace the product,” he said.

On the other hand, a shopkeeper selling branded tabs challenged the quality of cheap tabs saying: “The moment you hold a cheap tab in your hand you will feel the difference. You will also note the difference in screen resolution, specifications, camera and everything. They are not durable also.”
Some expats buy such gadgets not for personal use but for sending them back at home as gifts for friends and family.

Ahsan Qaureshi, an industrial worker from Pakistan was selecting a tab from the unknown brands like Touchmate, Uniontouch, Prestigio, Advance, Life, BSNL, Atouch etc. at a supermarket.

“I want to send one tab to Pakistan for my nephew and I am selecting from these as they are low-priced,” he said.

Jankoli, 24, from Nepal who works at a restaurant is well aware of complications attached with non-branded electronic gadgets but he says, “I will throw it when it will be broken down. But now it is enough to appease my hunger for a tab using that allows me to enjoy various social media tools like Facebook and YouTube.”

He further said that he used to make video calls through various apps like Viber to his family and friends in Nepal.

“Though smart phones give me the same facility but a bigger-screen experience is a rich experience,” he added.

The customers here also search the prices of cheap tabs on the web to make a right choice. Interestingly, a query regarding the cheapest tab available in Doha on a Qatar-based social networking site met a humorous reply from another enthusiast.

“Buy Panadol. I assure you it is cheap and it is an effective tab,” was his comment.