In Asia’s computer shops gold rush prevails. The ongoing boom in cryptocurrencies is fueling the trade in mining hardware – and is making the graphics card supply shortage.

Just a few years ago, bustling activity was rife in Asia’s most important markets for computer and electronics accessories, such as Hong Kong’s Sham Shui Po district or Simlim Square, Singapore’s electronics shopping mall. Then the sales of PCs collapsed and it became quiet around the computer shops. The news agency Thomson Reuters recently reported that the tide has turned.

The reason for this is the crypto-mining boom. The computer shops have recently targeted miners. They include components such as graphics cards, motherboards, power supplies and fans. And for a small fee, sellers build finished mining rigs in their mostly small shops.

Half as expensive as in Europe

The clientele is international. She comes from Asia, Europe and Africa. In Hong Kong shops, most customers come from Russia. Electricity tariffs are low there – they amount to only one third of the average European prices. And in the north of the country there is a cold climate, which is why the operation of mining rigs requires little cooling power.

It’s worth buying mining equipment in Asia. A Russian bitcoin miner surveyed by Thomson Reuters said he could buy comparable hardware in Hong Kong 30 to 50 percent cheaper than in Europe. This is partly because Hong Kong knows nothing about VAT. On the other hand, the supply chain is short, as most chip manufacturers are in Asia.

Mining rig with 500 graphics cards

The demand for mining hardware in Asia is so great that computer shops can not always keep up with their supply. For example, a shop operator from Singapore told Thomson Reuters Reporter that a customer had wanted to buy a mining rig with 500 graphics cards for the equivalent of 250,000 Swiss francs. A little later, a miner asked for 1’000 graphics cards. The dealer had to reject both requests, because the supply of graphics cards is currently scarce.

The fact that many graphic cards for mining cryptocurrencies are in demand on the Asian market is also felt in Europe. The IT magazine Computerbase noted in its recent price comparison that the prices of various AMD and Nvidia graphics cards since December in the double-digit percentage range have risen. The front runner is the AMD Radeon RX 580, which was available in December for 249 euros, but today costs 449 euros – whopping 80 percent more.

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