Hi! I'm a computer science student from central Europe, Hungary. I wanted to respond to one of the topics in the latest WAN Show.
The topic I'm talking about is the price of US based company's products in Europe. I want to begin with Apple products because they are the most overpriced here. Many things are reasonably priced in the US. The iMac Pro base model is almost as much as the sum of the components and laptops are considered cheap compared to the European prices.
So take a look at this: If you look up apple.com and apple.hu (the Hungarian Apple site) and click on iPhones, you see a strange thing. The US site has them starting at 999$ for the XS and 1099 for the XS Max, the Hungarian site on the other hand asks for 399,999HUF (1,436$) for the XS and 439,990HUF (1580$) for the Max. That is not a small difference. And the gap between the prices continue to grow as you select the higher storage capacity models. The most dramatic is the 512GB XS Max that supposed to cost 1449$ but in Hungary it will run you 577,990HUF (2076$). That is incredible. It is a whopping 627$ gap. For that price you can buy the maxed out OnePlus 6.
Check out the fully speced iMac Pro tho: In the US it's 13,199$, in Hungary it's 4 784 790 HUF which is 17,052$. And yes, I know this includes taxes but there isn't a state where you would have to pay 4,000$ of taxes.
Now to be fair, this is not completely Apple's fault. The import fees are 27% and taxes are just stupidly high from the US. This happens to every US company's product over here, like Surface Books, Dell XPS notebooks... If you are importing from Asia (like Samsung and Xiaomi phones) the taxes and import fees are almost 0. If you check out the Hungarian T-Mobile website and choose the S9+ and iPhone XS for comparison you can see that the 64GB models are 285,000HUF (1024$) for the S9+ and 399 990HUF (1,436$) for the XS. It's a 400$ difference while in the US it's 80$ (as of now on at&t's site). The problem is that it doesn't matter that it's not Apple's fault, the consumer only sees the price tag. This is one of the main reasons that Apple is not doing so great over here.
I also want to point out that here, you have to give 2 years of warranty as a phone vendor, so that might increase prices. But the 2 year warranty is applied to every other phone too, not just iPhones, and the T-Mobile site I referred to already has the warranty fees in the price.
The problem however is present with laptops too. Here is an example:
The Dell XPS 13 with an I7 8550U, 16GB of ram, 1TB SSD and a 4K panel costs 1800 US Dollars on BestBuy. If you check out one of Hungary's biggest electronics stores called edigital you see that a similarly built machine costs 935 990 HUF which is 3,335$. And this model has a last gen i7-7Y75. That is such a ridiculous difference that it doesn't make any sense buying a high end product like it. Sure you can buy it from amazon, but even then it will cost you a lot more and you won't have a place to take your notebook back to if it needs a quick repair.
It is actually pretty hard to get relevant comparisons because companies like Razer don't sell their stuff here. Your options are importing it or buying used. The LG Gram and Surface devices are basically impossible to find here. The other problem is that even if you find something it's most likely running outdated hardware, like older processors.
I get that as an EU citizen I get 2 years of warranty with every purchase, but I don't think that it makes up for these price differences. People used to joke about buying a plane ticket and going to the US, buying the stuff you need and coming back with money saved. This joke is starting to sound like a great idea nowadays.
What do you guys think?