When a gap appears in the market entrepreneurs will step in to fill it. A few years ago we reported about a rash of unofficial Apple stores popping up, and being shut down, in China. Now Quartz is reporting about an unofficial Apple store in Kabul, Afghanistan. Unlike the fancy Chinese knock offs this unofficial home to Apple products is merely a small operation nestled in the middle of Afghanistan’s largest shopping mall.
The store sells a few laptops and phones every day according to its manager, Mohammed Nasery, at a slight markup from their American prices. This is due to having to buy all of the product from Dubai at retail price.
Due to economic limitations only a small percentage of the country has the means to purchase an Apple product, but the status such luxury items affords leads some young Afghans to make the splurge. In an interview last year with USC Annenberg Esmatullah Rahimi, one of the store’s employee’s, described the kind of clientele the store attracted.
“Well, Afghans don’t have a lot of money, so to own an Apple you need to have a good job. I’d say that most Apple consumers are pretty young, from around 25 to 35. These are the people who work either as translators for the military or who work on aid projects…Young Afghans work around foreigners who have iPods and Macs and iPads, and they want them too.”
The store has been profitable enough that the owners are expanding their operation, adding a repair center and a website soon, with a second location being considered. You can read more over at Quartz. It’s fascinating look at how technology spreads unofficially to markets where there is demand.