Green Hills Mall, a shopping mall in Manila, is a huge marketplace of legal and semi-legal electronics leaked from supply lines throughout Asia. On first impression, it’s a surprisingly tolerated monument to backdoor commerce and insecure shipping.
But spend the day there, and something more subtle emerges. A middle class in Southeast Asia is creating one of the world's most promising emerging markets for electronics. But much of that market still isn’t capable of paying full price for digital equipment, and may not be for years.
Are malls like Green Hills simply thieves bazaars? Or do they exist and are they tolerated because they allow consumers in still-developing nations, like the Philippines, to gain access to the devices that put them on equal footing with richer neighbors? Is selling on the gray market today better than not selling at all, perhaps for decades?
Watch this report and decide. Comments welcome.