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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Laptops Are A Cheaper Alternative

Sales of laptops with Russian brand names are climbing as the $900 price tags on the locally assembled computers edge out those on Western imports, industry officials said Wednesday.

Russian brand Rover Books, produced by Bely Veter-DVM, are selling twice as quickly as foreign brands at Bely Veter electronics stores, said company purchasing manager Olga Tikhomirova.

Before the August crisis, Rover Book accounted for just one third of total sales, she said.

But despite the growing popularity of Russian laptops, Western brand names remain the better selling computers, experts said.

"Notebooks are still luxury products, and people prefer to pay several hundred dollars more for a well-known brand," said Andrei Almazov, an expert at Algorithm Group consulting agency. "People who buy notebooks are usually not price-conscious."

However, with prices for Russian brands on average 30 percent lower than those for top brands, going for a Russian notebook makes sense.

"Most people don't need top brands, many need a computer for things like teaching their kid to use one," said Andrei Gusev, vice president of Computer Mechanics company which markets upper market notebooks.

But buying a Russian laptop is still a gamble, experts warn. The computers, which typically contain the same Taiwan-made components as its more expensive counterparts, do not have the same quality and compatibility guarantees.

Unlike major brand names, Russian companies cannot set quality standards at factories producing them, and the reliability of a Russian-built laptop depends on the vendor's willingness to support the product.

Therefore, providing full service and technical support has helped some vendors selling Russian brands become better positioned then vendors of unbranded notebooks, analysts said.

Despite the fact that they are still charging less for their products, vendors selling Russian brands have faced a stiffer competition from their foreign counterparts as world prices for computers went down.The crisis in Russia has played its role in driving down prices of notebooks in Russia, but the decline was largely due to an overall downward tendency on the world market, where prices for computer parts worldwide have been shedding 5 percent to 10 percent per month for the past year, said Igor Yevseyev, commercial director at the R-Style Computers company, which markets the Russian brand Tornado.

It's now possible to buy a notebook from a leading company for about $1,500, which is almost within Russian brands' price range.

"There has been a definite shift toward purchases of cheaper notebook models," said Robert Farish, research director of IDC Russia.