The Mobile Device Management System (MDMS), has long been a topic for discussion in Nepal. As you might know, its goal is to prevent illegal or grey imports of mobile phones into the country. Just like phones, laptops are another difficult market in Nepal with a lack of proper management in place. With the increasing use of laptops, there is a growing need for a Laptop Device Management System (LDMS) in Nepal.
Laptop Device Management System
Before we get started, let me give you a quick rundown of how mobile phone imports are regulated in Nepal. This will give you an idea of what we mean in the case of laptops. And why a Laptop Device Management System (LDMS) is required in Nepal.
You may be surprised, but the smartphone industry is relatively organized, even before the introduction of MDMS. And there are a few reasons for it.
Mobile Phone Management in Nepal
Firstly, every mobile brand designates one (or more) distributors in each country to handle their smartphone distribution process. They are commonly known as “National Distributors” which get the exclusive rights to import the brand’s smartphones in the country.
For instance, Samsung has appointed HIM and IMS, while Gen NXt is in charge of Apple iPhones. Likewise, other brands such as Xiaomi, Realme, and Infinix also have their respective distributors in Nepal.
Once the authorized distributors are in place, brands must follow the NTA’s Type Approval process before selling smartphones in Nepal. The process ensures that the International Mobile Equipment Identities (IMEIs) of all the smartphones being imported are registered in the NTA’s system. And once this is done, the brand can launch the smartphone for a specific marked price, that is consistent across the country.
These steps ensure that the smartphone you purchase is a legal import, and that prices are consistent for both buyers and sellers. Even if a seller attempts to sell a device for more than its retail price, you can check the price on the brand’s official site or on media sites like ours. We regularly update the prices of smartphones from all brands so that the user gets up-to-date information.
The incompetence of system for laptops
But the situation is considerably messier when it comes to the import of laptops in Nepal. The main reason for it is that NTA doesn’t monitor this industry as closely as it does for mobile phones.
Actually, importing a laptop in Nepal is easier than you might think. All you need is an Exim (Export Import) code; which by the way, is required for the import or export of basically every goods in Nepal. Even a packet of salt. Not to mention, it is issued to every trader who wishes to exchange goods to or from the country.
As a result, any retailer, big or small who has Exim code, can easily import laptops in Nepal. And sell them at their desired price without raising any eyebrows. While it encourages a practice of an open market (which is beneficial in a few ways), it also means there are no proper restrictions or regulations on the trade of products by government or outside force.
All of this ends up creating price volatility in the market, resulting in different prices for the same products depending on the seller. It can even discourage laptop makers from entering the market officially since grey sellers can undercut their prices.
This is certainly not a good thing, especially for customers. Because if there’s no official brand presence, there will be no authorized repair centers to turn to. And there is no guarantee that customers will find an original part at the local repair shop.
Even more of a problem in the Nepali market is that it allows grey sellers to easily import refurbished laptops and resell them as new. Although such laptops will eventually be less expensive than new & authorized ones, there is a significant difference in terms of warranty coverage.
Many of you might not know it, but a laptop purchased from a grey seller only includes warranty coverage for RAM, SSD/HDD, battery, charger, and display. Official distributors, on the other hand, have direct contact with the manufacturer and can also cover damages such as wires, chipsets, CPU/GPU, motherboard, WiFi cards and more.
We have a detailed video on grey, authorized, and refurbished laptop, which you can watch below.
What’s our take?
So what’s the bottom line then? We simply want to emphasize the importance of a regulatory body overseeing Nepal’s laptop market. Kind of like what NTA does with phones. Maybe introducing a Laptop Device Management System (LDMS) could help achieve this goal, which would only allow authorized distributors to import laptops into the country. NTA could make it happen by verifying the agreement between the distributor and laptop makers.
And it also goes without saying that implementing such a system shouldn’t disturb the ethos of the open market either. People importing laptops for their personal use, or someone arriving in Nepal from foreign countries with their personal laptop should be exempted from this system. Then again, if such laptops are being imported in bulk, then they should once again be directed from the official channels. This will help maintain consistent prices across the country, while also guaranteeing authentic products to the buyers. In the end, this system could effectively minimize the prevalence of grey or refurbished laptops in Nepal.