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Old Dec 6, 2012, 02:01 PM   #1
rijno
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MBA from Hong Kong

Hey everyone!

My sister is currently studying in Hong Kong, and she will return to The Netherlands halfway January. I am considering asking her to bring me either a MBA or rMBP (haven't decided on the model yet) from HK, as there is a huge price difference. For example, the base model MBA is 1270 euro's, whereas it would be 918 euros if it would be bought in Hong Kong. I am really curious about other people's experiences in similar situations.

1. Anyone has any experiences with this?

2. Will there be any problems at customs? She will be carrying her own Sony Vaio laptop with her as well, and maybe an iPad (as she is considering buying one there).

3. What about the power supply on the MBA, can I just change the duck beak to a two-pin charger in order for it to be charged in Europe?

4. Will it be a normal QWERTY keyboard?

5. Will there any other problems that might occur which I have to think about?

Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences and thoughts!
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 03:18 PM   #2
aeboi
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Unless it's sealed with the receipt slapped on top of the box, they have no reason to assume that she had just bought it.

Just use an adapter and it'll work fine.

Keyboard is a standard QWERTY keyboard so no worries there.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 05:19 PM   #3
Mrbobb
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Take it out of its original packaging, place flatten packing (if u want to keep them) in check-in luggage, carry laptop in carry-on.

When purchasing make sister asks whether they have a US-plug version in stock, they may, else no big deal buying adapter plug.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 07:54 PM   #4
53x12
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When purchasing make sister asks whether they have a US-plug version in stock, they may, else no big deal buying adapter plug.
I believe OP lives in Holland so he would need the correct EU plug and not a "USA" one.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 05:57 AM   #5
rijno
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Originally Posted by aeboi View Post
Unless it's sealed with the receipt slapped on top of the box, they have no reason to assume that she had just bought it.

Just use an adapter and it'll work fine.

Keyboard is a standard QWERTY keyboard so no worries there.
Haha I'll remember to tell her not to slap the receipt on the box

@53x12: i do indeed need the dutch standard. I know there is a possibility to use an adapter, but will it be possible to change the duck beak to a two pinned-duck beak as well?

Also, since I am still having thoughts about which model is right for me, any comments on that are welcome as well (I know there are many threads in this topic but still curious about your comments).

I will use it for normal stuff like mail/safari/youtube/ music on iTunes/spotify, but also consumer HD movie editing with iMovie and occasional gaming. Most of the times I do many of these things simultaneously. I currently have a 2010 MBP15, which runs fine, but due to the discount and the urge to get more portability I am considering a replacement.

Looking forward to your thoughts!
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 06:47 AM   #6
kyle.c
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Originally Posted by rijno View Post
Hey everyone!

My sister is currently studying in Hong Kong, and she will return to The Netherlands halfway January. I am considering asking her to bring me either a MBA or rMBP (haven't decided on the model yet) from HK, as there is a huge price difference. For example, the base model MBA is 1270 euro's, whereas it would be 918 euros if it would be bought in Hong Kong. I am really curious about other people's experiences in similar situations.

1. Anyone has any experiences with this?

2. Will there be any problems at customs? She will be carrying her own Sony Vaio laptop with her as well, and maybe an iPad (as she is considering buying one there).

3. What about the power supply on the MBA, can I just change the duck beak to a two-pin charger in order for it to be charged in Europe?

4. Will it be a normal QWERTY keyboard?

5. Will there any other problems that might occur which I have to think about?

Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences and thoughts!
4. Yes, it is a normal QWERTY keyboard as I live in HK as well.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 06:49 AM   #7
thelster
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Careful!

My friend did the same thing, coming from the USA. He bought a new macbook, took it out of the packaging and even put a few scratches into it to fool the customs people. No chance- they pulled him out and were able to identify where it came from based on the serial number- if they do pull your sister out for customs they are very likely to figure it out. My friend was sued, taken to court and had to pay 2500 fine...

I would not do it...
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 08:31 AM   #8
dixido
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rijno View Post
1. Anyone has any experiences with this?

2. Will there be any problems at customs? She will be carrying her own Sony Vaio laptop with her as well, and maybe an iPad (as she is considering buying one there).

3. What about the power supply on the MBA, can I just change the duck beak to a two-pin charger in order for it to be charged in Europe?

4. Will it be a normal QWERTY keyboard?

5. Will there any other problems that might occur which I have to think about?

Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences and thoughts!
1) Yes, I purchased my current Mac in Hong Kong.

2) I would not worry about customs. If she travels with a friend she can ask her to carry the receipts for her to try to avoid any taxes.

3) Yes, you can just change the duck to a European one.

4) Yes, normal QWERTY. Here is picture of my keyboard if you want to be 100% sure: http://d.pr/i/ZrGi

5) No. Although, I have never had to try out how the warranty works if you have purchased your Mac abroad. Does anyone else know about this?
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 01:10 PM   #9
OnceYouGoMac
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My friend did the same thing, coming from the USA. He bought a new macbook, took it out of the packaging and even put a few scratches into it to fool the customs people. No chance- they pulled him out and were able to identify where it came from based on the serial number- if they do pull your sister out for customs they are very likely to figure it out. My friend was sued, taken to court and had to pay 2500 fine...

I would not do it...
That's extreme How did they track the serial number? Does it give the year or something? I never looked at the serial numbers of mine
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 04:55 AM   #10
rijno
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Originally Posted by thelster View Post
My friend did the same thing, coming from the USA. He bought a new macbook, took it out of the packaging and even put a few scratches into it to fool the customs people. No chance- they pulled him out and were able to identify where it came from based on the serial number- if they do pull your sister out for customs they are very likely to figure it out. My friend was sued, taken to court and had to pay 2500 fine...

I would not do it...
Wow that's quite a story! Any chance that the customs in HK might be different from USA? Obviously I don't want my sister to get in trouble on my behalf. Any experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Also, I'm curious about the delivery times on BTO Macs in Hong Kong. If I opt for the MBA13, I would want it with 8GB ram, which is only available as BTO. Anyone knows anything about this? My sister is travelling around now, and will be back in HK on the 31st of december (so she can place the order on that date). Will it be delivered to her before the 14th of January?

If not, I will probably go for the base rMBP13, price difference with the MBA13/i5/8gb is around 300 euro's, and for that I get a better processor and an awesome screen... Do you think it is worth the tradeoff?

Thanks in advance for the advice!
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 08:33 AM   #11
nStyle
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If you can't buy a MBA in HK and take it anywhere else... why would you be able to buy a flower or a postcard and take it anywhere else? I just don't see the logic why there would be any problem of taking something you bought there to anywhere.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 08:44 AM   #12
Efrem
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If you can't buy a MBA in HK and take it anywhere else... why would you be able to buy a flower or a postcard and take it anywhere else? I just don't see the logic why there would be any problem of taking something you bought there to anywhere.
You can take it anywhere you want. The problem is that you're supposed to pay import duty on things you buy in your travels, but the OP in this thread doesn't want to. Much of this thread has been about how to con the customs service of one country or another into thinking you've had it since before your trip. Ethics aside, the moral of post 7 is that customs inspectors weren't born yesterday, have seen all the tricks, have a few up their sleeves as well, and have the force of the law behind them if they catch you. I might try smuggling (yes, that's the word) a new MBA myself, but I'd never ask anyone else to.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 08:57 AM   #13
Mrbobb
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I would not do it...
If there is any truth t ur fantastic story, ur "friend" must had been a piece of nervious wreck and totally uncooperative.

Airport ppl are too busy with real contraban like drugs. That serial# matching is more fantastic still since there is no standard all vendors use.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 09:04 AM   #14
rijno
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Originally Posted by Efrem View Post
You can take it anywhere you want. The problem is that you're supposed to pay import duty on things you buy in your travels, but the OP in this thread doesn't want to. Much of this thread has been about how to con the customs service of one country or another into thinking you've had it since before your trip. Ethics aside, the moral of post 7 is that customs inspectors weren't born yesterday, have seen all the tricks, have a few up their sleeves as well, and have the force of the law behind them if they catch you. I might try smuggling (yes, that's the word) a new MBA myself, but I'd never ask anyone else to.
you are right, I wouldn't want my sister to get in trouble. She lived in HongKong for half a year though, would that make any difference?
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 03:40 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by thelster View Post
My friend did the same thing, coming from the USA. He bought a new macbook, took it out of the packaging and even put a few scratches into it to fool the customs people. No chance- they pulled him out and were able to identify where it came from based on the serial number- if they do pull your sister out for customs they are very likely to figure it out. My friend was sued, taken to court and had to pay 2500 fine...

I would not do it...


I am having trouble believing this.
I travel A LOT for work and most of it internationally and I have never had customs want to check my laptop.
Sued?? By whom.
If anything you would have to pay the duty/tax on the item.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 08:53 AM   #16
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I am having trouble believing this.
I travel A LOT for work and most of it internationally and I have never had customs want to check my laptop.
Sued?? By whom.
If anything you would have to pay the duty/tax on the item.
I am also having trouble believing it, for the same reasons as you. A week ago I flew out of Hong Kong with a perfect condition Macbook Pro (I had it before the trip). I had no issues with security or customs.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 05:08 AM   #17
AndyWong
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you are right, I wouldn't want my sister to get in trouble. She lived in HongKong for half a year though, would that make any difference?
Don't believe that stupid post up there. No customs have right mind to fine you for a bloody Mac. Unless you have been very uncooperative and challenged the customs officer like a batman. At the most, you will only need to pay taxes.

Since your sister stayed there for six months already then you should be pretty safe. You'll need her to use the Mac for a day. As far as i understand, she can bring in her own things w/o needing to pay taxes but not gifts.

I have my colleague to bring in my MBA to Hungary with him carrying 1 other HP laptop and 1 of his own MPB.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 05:33 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by thelster View Post
My friend did the same thing, coming from the USA. He bought a new macbook, took it out of the packaging and even put a few scratches into it to fool the customs people. No chance- they pulled him out and were able to identify where it came from based on the serial number- if they do pull your sister out for customs they are very likely to figure it out. My friend was sued, taken to court and had to pay 2500 fine...

I would not do it...
No offense, but this is one of the most preposterous things I've ever heard. Don't listen to this story, the customs people will NOT rummage through your things and check your computer to check the where your purchased it. Even if they did, you could always play dumb and say you didn't know you had to declare it. If this is actually true, your friend is truly a moron.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 07:51 AM   #19
rijno
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No offense, but this is one of the most preposterous things I've ever heard. Don't listen to this story, the customs people will NOT rummage through your things and check your computer to check the where your purchased it. Even if they did, you could always play dumb and say you didn't know you had to declare it. If this is actually true, your friend is truly a moron.
Thanks for the replies guys, really appreciate it! I was having a hard time justifying paying extra money for a rMBP13, but I really loved it when I checked it out in the store.

So my sister bought the base 13 rMBP today for me with student discount, end price was 1228 euro's (which is a good 150 euro's less than the base MBA with 8GB ram price in my country). For that I get an incredible screen, a slightly better processor and a HDMI port over the base MBA, which I think is a pretty sweet deal! Also, I didn't really want to take more risk by ordering an MBA with 8 GB (BTO) to be delivered to her dorms, as some of her belongings were stolen there already.

I hope all goes well at customs!

Off-topic: Actually I feel the form factor of the rMBP is not worse than the MBA due to the larger MBA footprint. Sure, the MBA is lighter and thinner (if only a little), but if you put them on top of each other, the MBA sticks out on all sides. What do you guys think about this?
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 12:04 PM   #20
Mrbobb
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but if you put them on top of each other, the MBA sticks out on all sides. What do you guys think about this?

Agree. U made the right choice.

It does scare me to buy anything 1st generation, so fire it up, make sure there are no un-even lighting on the screen. Peruse those threads that mention fast burnt-in, I don't know if they are true, just bothersome or what, but with that kind of $$, I expect near-perfection.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 02:43 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by rijno View Post
Thanks for the replies guys, really appreciate it! I was having a hard time justifying paying extra money for a rMBP13, but I really loved it when I checked it out in the store.

So my sister bought the base 13 rMBP today for me with student discount, end price was 1228 euro's (which is a good 150 euro's less than the base MBA with 8GB ram price in my country). For that I get an incredible screen, a slightly better processor and a HDMI port over the base MBA, which I think is a pretty sweet deal! Also, I didn't really want to take more risk by ordering an MBA with 8 GB (BTO) to be delivered to her dorms, as some of her belongings were stolen there already.

I hope all goes well at customs!

Off-topic: Actually I feel the form factor of the rMBP is not worse than the MBA due to the larger MBA footprint. Sure, the MBA is lighter and thinner (if only a little), but if you put them on top of each other, the MBA sticks out on all sides. What do you guys think about this?
Between the 13 rMBP and 13 MBA, I agree with you about the size. I think the advantage to a MBA is more along the lines of weight rather than footprint. That's why I have an 11.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 01:21 AM   #22
Asia8
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I've found most customs peoples to be pretty friendly. I've carried illegal stuff and such and never had troubles even with a in depth search (I asked if a sword had to be declared =] ).

Most of the time I just walk along and ignore all of everything. Between Hong Kong and China I don't even bother putting my bags through the x-ray machine.

Though you might be checked more often if you're very dark skinned. This is simply an observation from watching whose luggage is being checked while I walk through customs and ignore everything.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 01:24 AM   #23
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Ahhh Hong Kong, how I miss its no sales tax....
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 01:34 AM   #24
kage207
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I wouldn't put too much faith in the "scary" story above. Keep in mind you are supposed to report items that you purchased aboard and are bringing back to your state so they can make you pay taxes on them.

Silly governments.... stupid taxes.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 01:54 AM   #25
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There's quite a bit of misinformation here.

I am originally dutch but I live abroad for a while.

1. In Holland you need to pay taxes on purchased goods outside of Europe, not all goods you have to pay for, only if the total is more than a certain amount.

2. You have to buy it minimal 1 year before you arrive in Holland if you lived in another country.

3, If you want to import it after you lived in another country and want to live in Holland again you need to inform them before going back to Holland.

4. You have to at least live in another country for 1 year before you can import tax free.

There is a very simple way around this, if you buy a Laptop for instance fly to Belgium and then cross the border, Belgium can't make you pay the tax on the laptop since you are not Belgian.
There is no Customs on the borders in Europe so no problem.

To the OP, be careful with it, you might already have the Mac but asking someone else to do this is in my point of view stupid.
I would not do such a thing for anyone.
And dutch customs are smart, if you get caught you pay the taxes and a fine.

Last edited by justperry; Jan 12, 2013 at 02:01 AM.
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