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Trading Electronic Items
This page is about small-scale trading in new (not second-hand) electronic items, such as flash-memory cards, computer parts (motherboards, processor, RAM), cameras and phone accessories, by buying them in the UK from cheap online stores and selling or using them in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, etc.
This page is about buying new items. Please read it in conjunction with the page BuyingOldLaptops which describes buying old, second-hand items from eBay UK.
Hi Ken (and all)
I've mentioned buying things in the UK from the ordinary company Ebuyer.com. Despite the similar name, this is nothing to do with the eBay auction site.
I thought it might help to look at specific products, 1GB and 2GB Flash Memory Cards that people use in phones for photos and MP3s etc, to see how UK prices compare with local Kenyan prices.
See http://www.ebuyer.com/ , click Flash Memory on the left (for some reason in the Photographic section of the menu). It shows you a fjust ew cards on special offer, so click the buitton 'Show all Flash Memory.
Now from the drop down lists, select 'Sort by price - low to high' and 'Show 50 products'. There are several pages of results. You can now browse through to see the cheapest 1GB and 2GB Cards of particular types, such as 1GB SD, Mini SD or Micro SD cards, etc. It also has some USB Flash Memory Drives.
As a very specific example, at the moment, there are some Crucial 1GB SD cards for £2.99 ($6) Including 17.5% UK VAT.
Try clicking the Buy button to go to the first stage of checkout, and see quantity and weight, and the drop down list of delivery-time/cost options.
Orders are post-free to an address in the UK, for orders over £50 ($100), if you select free 5 day delivery during the checkout process.
On the during page, you can change quantities and recalculate totals etc. It also shows you the weight of your order. This weight is helpful because it tells you how much it will cost when the buyer (a UK volunteer or business-partner) posts them from the UK to Kenya.
A small parcel under 2KG can be sent airmail (5 days) as a Royal Mail small packet for £1 ($2) per 100 grams = £10 (or $20) per Kilo.
Parcels over 2KG have to go by another carrier, such as Parcelforce at a higher rate of £2 ($4) per 100 grams or £20 (or $40) per Kilo.
So, 1GB SD Card = £2.99 + £0.50 = £3.49 (or $7) - The price to buy it and get it to Kenya.
You may want to add extra postal insurance. This price is without any.
Ebuyer is the cheapest online computer shop that I know of in the UK, and sells all sorts of computer items, printers, cameras, phone accessories, including motherboards, processors and RAM. It's possible to put together a motherboard, processor and 512MB RAM set for about £50 (or $100).
At the moment £1 = 125 KSH (http://coinmill.com/GBP_KES.html#GBP=1)
So Ken (and everyone), I hope that gives you some specific ideas on things to buy and sell, and whether it would be profitable.FredKayiwa, CCed to a whole list of people in MinciuSodas who may be interested in trading or just seeing how it develops; KenChelimo, KenOwino, DavidMutua, KiyaviloMsekwa, ProsperMbwambo, Josephat, SamKongere, DanOtedo, MariaAgnese, AndriusKulikauskas
I was thinking, one thing that you and everyone interested in trading (Kims, Prosper, Josephat, Ken Chelimo, Sam, David Mutua, Maria and I, etc) might mind useful is if you all agree to be online at the same time, and view items together on the Ebuyer UK computer-store website http://www.ebuyer.com/, such as memory cards, computer peripherals and their prices and, at the same time, open a 3, 4, 5-way Yahoo Messenger Conference window, to talk to each other about the items.
You can give your opinions and analysis of what things might be profitable, etc. It's the online equivalent of going round a computer superstore together, except you are hundreds of miles apart. If you're viewing a particular item-page, you can post a link in the conference window, other peopl can click it and go to that page to see it.
The idea can of course apply to any website, such as looking at old laptops on eBay UK http://www.ebay.co.uk/
What do you think?
This is Ken Chelimo's reaction:
This is a fantastic idea and I wholeheartedly support it. It will really help all of us who want to trade in these items. What is the opinion of the other members of the team?
My email to Andrius:
It may interest you, firstly to keep in touch with what the traders group are doing; those people in MS interested in buying and selling electronic goods like memory cards, or just in buying things cheaply for the Telecentre, WiFi or local schools and projects. Secondly, it shows how thinking about how to use electronic communication technology in creative ways can be very helpful. It's not so much what the technology is, but how you use it that's important. Thirdly, Lithuanians may benefit from the idea too, if widely scattered groups of friends and colleagues can work online together in this way, and socialise at the same time, from different places in Lithuania, and multiple countries.
It struck me that the idea of several people looking at the Ebuyer site and chatting about it at the same time has similarities to 'cyber-skiving' at work, where 2 people chat on the phone about the same website (clothes, electronic gizmos, football), but used in a good way.
I can attend one or two chats, if people want any recommendations on things to buy or some technical details of how various features work. However, most of the time, the discussion doesn't have to be in English or have any English-speakers present. A group of 2, 3, 4, 5 Kiswahili-speakers can chat together in Kiswahili about the items.
Text Chat as a Permanent Record:
In my idea, instead of people talking on the phone, I thought it would be a good idea to use Yahoo Messenger's text-window conference facility. This lets people paste web-addresses of pages, for other people to click on. It also provides a record of the chat for the people who were there, and for anyone else who couldn't attend. The record includes the links to the item-pages they were talking about.
Of course, people could chat on the phone instead while looking at items, if they want, by normal phone or skype, but this may not be allowed at a cyber-cafe, as it disturbs other people. Also, other people can over-hear your conversations. The conference text-window could still be used to share web-addresses of item-pages.