Players in the auto industry know that it is better to buy used but genuine spare parts as opposed to fakes. Experts say the used genuine parts have a longer life span and offer quality service. The case is also true for the information and technology sector where more people are now opting to buy second-hand branded computers that have been refurbished for re-use rather than clones. Cloned computers are locally assembled using parts sourced from different manufacturers and try to replicate renowned brands like IBM, Dell, HP, Compaq among others. The parts used in cloned computers are mostly sourced from China and are of low quality. This explains why there is an increase in the uptake of second hand but refurbished branded computers, mostly from the United Kingdom.The increased popularity of the ex-UK computers, as they are popularly known, is due to high prices of new branded computers.
A computer specialist along Tom Mboya street says due to the prohibitive costs of branded computers, individual end users have previously been compelled to settle for the short-lived and unreliable cloned computers. He says the life span of a refurbished branded computer is longer and likely to give end-users better services than cloned versions.Service delivery“The Ex UK computers are just as good as the new ones and even match them in the level of service delivery, ” he explains.A spot check by the Financial Journal showed that retailers too have a degree of confidence in the computers and give a guarantee of between six and nine months to buyers, which compares with the one-year guarantee given for branded computers.Prices of a refurbished PC compare with those of a cloned computer are at between Sh25,000 and Sh30,000 depending on the specifications. New branded PCs are, however, priced on the higher side and depending on the specifications and where the sellers are located, an end user pays between Sh45,000 and Sh50,000 for the major computer brands like HP, Dell and Compaq. Dealers say the refurbished computers are usually not old and the need for machines with advanced features is one of the major reason why their former users get rid of them. For instance, a company might have a policy of using desktop computers for three years before upgrading to newer ones.With the refurbished computers, the number of branded computers, which were not so long ago hard to come by and mostly found within the confines of large organisations, has significantly increased in the market.Organisations, mostly non-profit making ones, have been at the forefront of the refurbishing idea with the aim of bridging the digital divide between the developed and developing countries. Used machinesSome of the organisations acquire, mostly through donations, the used machines and refurbish them, then donate them to schools and other public institutions. It, however, has a commercial face where companies buy, refurbish and export the computers to the developing markets.