Random thoughts of an economist

Why are the US-made DVD so expensive in Hong Kong?

Posted in Economics, Movie, Parenting, Research, teaching by kafuwong on January 28, 2012

I could not believe my eyes when I saw the price differentials of a DVD set across regions in this globalized world. 

Monk is an American comedy-drama detective mystery television series from 2002 to 2009.  Eight seasons in total.  DVDs by seasons or complete series are available for sale.  Among detective TV series, this is much more suitable for kids/teens than other dective series, such as CSI, I have ever watched.  We bought the DVD of the first season of Monk as a test.  It was good.  So, we went out to get the other seasons. 

Surprised!  The complete series DVD set at the Hong Kong HMV online (store specialized in sales of DVD products) costs HK$2385 (about US$305).  It is almost the same as the cost of buying 8 DVDs of separate seasons.  Should we not expect the complete series at the Hong Kong HMV online (store specialized in sales of DVD products) to cost much less than the cost of buying 8 DVDs of separate seasons? 

Unconvinced, I checked the cost of similar items in Amazon.  The complete series DVD set (new, not used) is available at $100, and is much cheaper than the eight seasons sold separately.  Good deal!  So, I submitted my order with my Hong Kong shipping address.  Amazon refused to accept my order.  They will not ship to Hong Kong.  What prevents them to ship to Hong Kong?  I Wonder!

I can ask a friend in the US to purchase it and ship it over.  The US postal service will charge me about US$60.  If I ask my friend to do so, there will be a gain of US$140, to be shared among us.   If I ask a friend who is about to return to or to visit Hong Kong to bring me the DVD, there will be a gain of $200 to be shared among us.  Good profit if a local DVD store can ask a flight attendant or passengers to bring in similar products from the States.  The bigger the price differential, the bigger the incentive to engage in such activity (such activities is often called parallel imports). 

Such parallel import activities should narrow the price differential, shouldn’t it?  Why are we seeing the 200% difference in prices in Hong Kong and the United States?  A puzzle to me.  An opportunity to you?


3 idiots (作死不離3兄弟)

Posted in Movie by kafuwong on August 23, 2011

This is one of the best movies I have ever seen in years.  A friend sent me the links to clips.  I liked it so much that I tried to rent it at my neighborhood video store.  No luck.  I then found out that the movie was never shown in Hong Kong.  I checked several other video stores before I found it at HMV.  DVD with English subtitles only.  For a family of three, the movie is worth more than 240 HK dollars (the list price at HMV). 

The movie bought lots of laughter and tears.  We recommended to a friend in the States during our visit.  She loved it to.  Again, full of laughter and tears. 

I am sure most of my friends will enjoy it too. 

Now it is on big screen in Hong Kong.  Go see it if you have not yet!

[Description from Wikipedia]

“Marathon” — an excellent movie!

Posted in Leisure, Movie, Parenting by kafuwong on April 21, 2010

Watched the Korean movie “Marathon” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marathon_(2005_film) a while ago.  I still talk about it.  It is a such a good movie. 

I thought only parents would enjoy it.  It turns out that my ten-year-old son talks about it too.  Enjoy!