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Chinese show some sparks

CHINESE ENTREPRENEURS know how best to cash in on Indian festivities. Diwali and Eid give them enough business sense to flood city with their cheap and best gadgetry.

india Updated: Oct 21, 2006 00:23 IST

CHINESE ENTREPRENEURS know how best to cash in on Indian festivities. Diwali and Eid give them enough business sense to flood city with their cheap and best gadgetry.

Result: Chinese guns, Chinese flickers, Chinese diyas, Chinese Ganesh Lakshmi, Chinese cameras, and, of course, some Chinese-brand crackers are there!
But, what surprised many Lucknowites this festive season had been reasonably innovative Chinese gadgets flooding the market on price points no MNC could match in decades.

Consider the battery-operated mobile phone charger which fits into any Nokia phone with ease or the computer gaming joysticks or for that matter a miniature bedside lamp which provides sufficient light to read a novel in a dark room.

You could find voice—activated sensors fitted on a decorative artificial pigeon cage which sounds an alarm the minute somebody makes a noise in the 10 metre periphery. And all these are not just available in swanky retail outlets but also on the roadside “thelawalas”..

And the price? The mobile phone charger costs Rs 35, the bed-side-lamp Rs 150 and the voice activated alarm Rs 30 with the thelawalas. The same class of products in retail outlets costs almost double but then they are still affordable compared to the high cost of branded mobile chargers and bed-lamps imported from South Korea now available in the city.

The busy streets of Aminabad and Naka Hindola are full of these gadgets with even some Chinese camera phones hitting the market at a rock bottom prices—clicking at Rs 2,000 a piece. But, the only hurdle is that the pictures cannot be downloaded on to a PC.

Fake pistols are a big hit. They shoot a loud cracker sound and have become a big catch for children. An interesting aspect of these gadgets is that they are far more better packaged.

Then there are a whole set of  Chinese cells and batteries available in the market for Rs 10 a piece (you could bargain it for Rs 5 in you will) with the thelawalas who always insist on trying out a gadget with Chinese batteries first to charge a little extra for the batteries made available with the gadgets.

Another significant aspect of the Chinese onslaught in the market had been digital table clocks which come with a room temperature sensor. The range of  clocks available at price points of Rs 250 to Rs 300 are made of solid polymers ostensibly to make them robust pieces to withstand tropical climates.

So this Diwali is a pleasant “red alert” for all those gadget lovers in the city who are low on budget but high on adventure to try out gadgets which may or may not work after a month. But then who cares?