Parallel imports are hardware and software products legally purchased in another country and then sold in Hong Kong for less than the recommended retail price RRP —sometimes significantly cheaper. This applies mostly to laptops, phones, and games consoles. This is legal and the products are authentic. Yes, but it can be difficult. While Hong Kong's Apple store once sold the cheapest iPhones and iPads in the world, that's no longer true —the United States is now the cheapest. But there are, of course, unofficial channels to circumvent this. Hong Kong's computer markets are legendary.
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Nonetheless, it is now very clear that individual users and user firms - and sometimes producers - often freely reveal detailed information about their innovations. The practices visible in "open source" software development were important in bringing this phenomenon to general awareness. In these projects it was clear policy that project contributors would routinely and systematically freely reveal code they had developed at private expense (Raymond 1999). However, free revealing of product innovations has a history that began long before the advent of open source software. Allen, in his 1983 study of the eighteenth-century buy cheap apple products online industry, was probably the first to consider the phenomenon systematically (Allen 1983).
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