Xiao Jun-han & Steven Crook Translated by
Yvonne Chen & Iva Huang
marts have sprouted everywhere now the "information
era" has arrived. The streets of Taiwan's
major cities are full of small computer retail
stores, and in recent years the rise of franchise
stores has created ever bigger shopping arenas.
These offer customers broader and more accessible
information; made up of contracted shops, computer
shopping centers offer a variety of hardware
and software products for sale and trial use.
IT centers are a major sales channel. With open
product displays and onsite service staff to
offer advice and technical consultations, consumers
can also touch and operate the actual product.
Stressing the latest and most complete product
selection, direct-operation IT centers offer
the convenience of one-stop shopping and the
hottest IT products. Perhaps the best-known example
of a direct-operation IT center is Aurora (www.aurora.com.tw).
principal feature of contract-style shopping
centers is that the center's management acts
as the landlord, and the tenants are the individual
shops. The landlord collects management, marketing
fees, and rent, and is responsible for initial
planning and recruiting, plus subsequent management
and marketing matters as well as trucking details.
Once the shops move in, it is up to them to bring
in their own products, set prices, and make their
own sales effort.
most famous of these, the GuangHua Computer Center,
is in Taipei. In South Taiwan, contract-style
shopping centers are represented by the Kuo Cheng
E-Star 3C Plaza and the Jianguo Computer Plaza--both
near Kaohsiung Railway Station--and Tainan City's
Beimen Computer Plaza.
household-appliance stores are evolving into
IT centers and even 3C stores. These traditional
typified by Tsann Kuen 3C (www.tkec.com.tw),
QuanGuo Electronics, ShangXin LianQing, Taiichi,
ZhenGuang Appliance Wholesale, and Tatung Appliance
looking for digital cameras or other tech toys
should also take a look at the hypermarkets such
as Carrefour, RT-Mart, and Tesco. Choice is relatively
limited, but prices are often competitive.
CITY'S JIANGUO SECOND ROAD
you're arriving by train, leave the railway
station by the main entrance, turn left, pass
the bus station, and keep walking for around
five minutes to the intersection of JianGuo
2nd Road and LinSen 1st Road. The tech-toy
shopping zone--the better part of a hundred
stores on both sides of the road--stretches
from here all the way to MinTzu 1st Road.
a Tsann Kuen 3C outlet, but real tech-heads
will head for the smaller shops. Each one tends
to specialize. Notebook computers; brand-name
or generic PCs; parts, computer hardware and
software for self-assembly purposes can also
be found here. First-time buyers can choose
from a wide range of computer systems. There
are also plenty of video and computer games,
DVDs, CDs, and VCDs, plus heaps of peripherals.
you're totally new to the world of computers,
a number of establishments in this neighborhood
offer classes And don't waste time trying to
park a car around here--take public transport,
then a taxi home if you've made heavy or bulky
JianGuo 2nd Road, there's NASA (formerly NOVA),
centrally located at 4, JungShan 1st Road,
but currently a little difficult to reach on
account of construction work for Kaohsiung's
mass rapid transit system. This shop sells
computer peripherals, plus many smaller components
such as sockets, connectors, and adaptors.
CITY'S BEIMEN ROAD/CHINGNIAN ROAD
you're arrive by train, leave the station by
the front entrance, and turn left. Walk along
BeiMen Road Section for a few minutes, and
you'll find yourself at MinTzu Road. From here
southwards, reaching almost the FuChian-DaTong-MinChiuan
traffic circle, is Tainan's principal electronic-goods
Beimen Computer Plaza--a perpetually crowded
building is a good place to go if you need to
fix or upgrade your PC. There's also a wide range
of software and games, and--best of all--helpful
and knowledgable staff.
on Kaohsiung's JianGuo 2nd Road, the BeiMen Road
shops overcome space limitations by spilling
out onto the sidewalk, and piling merchandise
from floor to ceiling. There are countless places
where you can get your printer cartridges refilled;
others specialize in computer repair, software,
neighborhood also hosts the most central of Tainan's
Tsann Kuen 3C branches. And because the techie
stores are interspersed with shoe shops and stalls
selling fashion knickknacks, the crowd around
here is not so geeky as you might expect.
Road serves as an overspill to BeiMen Road, and
now boasts a dozen or more tech business. Most
interesting of these is the Shun Fa 3C branch
(118, ChingNian Rd.; tel (06) 222-1996), which
is bright, tidy, and comprehensively stocked.