I just bought a MacBook Pro! Prior to this, I've only been exposed to Windows and a smattering of UNIX/Linux... until now. What really struck me was the price! Total sticker shock, and that was before Apple raised prices on 14 Oct 2015!

This was the situation when I bought it (based on listed prices I could find). The base MacBook Pro with Retina display model costs $1,299 in the United States. Compare that with in a few other countries:

Country Price in Local Currency Exchange Rate1 Equivalent Price USD Price Variation
Singapore SGD 1,688 0.71692 $1,210 93.2%
Thailand THB 43,900 0.02814 $1,235 95.1%
Malaysia MYR 4,769 0.24178 $1,153 88.8%
Australia AUD 1,799 0.73330 $1,319 101.6%

Clearly, the price in Malaysia was the cheapest, because of the Ringgit's significant weakening in recent months.

So of course, Apple had to remedy this! After the price increase, Malaysia became more expensive compared to Singapore and Thailand:

Country Price in Local Currency Exchange Rate1 Equivalent Price USD Price Variation
Singapore SGD 1,688 0.72516 $1,224 94.2%
Thailand THB 49,900 0.02838 $1,416 100.9%
Malaysia MYR 5,899 0.24175 $1,426 109.8%
Australia AUD 1,999 0.73166 $1,463 112.6%

That's pretty much price parity between countries, with no opportunity for arbitrage. No wonder my sticker shock - it is so expensive for us in developing countries!

Just compare the GDP at Purchasing Power Parity or Local Purchasing Power.

Maybe someone could publish a Big Mac Index, similar to The Economist's Big Mac Index, adjusted for GDP per person. That'll really show how relatively "expensive" Apple is in the third world.


  1. Historical exchange rate data from XE.com, for 11 Oct (before the price increase) and 15 Oct (after). Does not include typical exchange fees of 2%-5%. 

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