When i was back in Singapore (an extended visit due to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai), i went to Sim Lim Square to get a feel of how the local IT retail has progressed (and comparing it against Akihibara that i visited a week prior).
Saw a digital media player that plays Realvideo files and decided to get the device. As i used to know some of the owners of the shops there, i went to one of the ones that i knew and asked the guy operating the small booth in front of the shop about it.
He gave a “cash-payment” discount of 10%, and i decided to get it. He used his walkie-talkie and mumbled some orders, and a teenage girl appeared and he said “Mister.. follow the girl to get the item”. ?? Wasn’t the item in the store i wonder?
Slightly amused, i followed the girl, and went down two stories, walked to the back alley of the mall, and into a storeroom full of boxes.
After a few minutes of Chinese chatter among the staff, i was shown the device. Interestingly, the storeroom was full of iPod-like players, iPhone-like phones, and even facsimiles of the iRiver Disney MP3 players that i’ve gotten in the past in South Korea.
Maybe that’s why they have such a convoluted way of supply-chain logistics. Almost reminded me of the old software pirates that used to occupy most of Sim Lim Square.