Since Taiwan is home to so many computer and electronics companies, you would assume that it could be a shopping Mecca for all the gadget geeks of the world. While I wouldn’t quite put the host city of Computex on par with the legendary Akihabara region in Tokyo, Taipei is no slouch when it comes to buying some cutting edge technology.
You could try to find some stuff at the major shopping malls and department stores, but you’ll likely overpay and not get the latest and greatest in the world of tech. For that, you’ll need to venture elsewhere. Let’s explore some of the best tech shopping areas in the city of Taipei.
NOVA Electronics Mall
Located right across the street from Taipei Main Station (accessible via bus, train, or subway) is a mega complex known as NOVA. This multi-floor shopping center focuses on all sorts of technology and gadgets.
Looking for a new smartphone? You’ve got it. Want the newest Sony Vaio or Asus Eee PC? They’ve got that too. Many of the models are not even available overseas yet. The best part is that Taiwan uses the same style wall plug as North America, so you don’t have to deal with any messy adapters.
NOVA may appear to be one giant store, but it’s actually comprised of several smaller stores. Beyond the ones that sell consumer electronics, you’ll also discover shops for accessories, components, and small doo-dahs.
Perhaps you are more interested in digital photography and digital video? Just a few blocks west of NOVA, you’ll discover a few streets that are loaded with nothing but camera stores.
They sell the camera bodies, both point and shoot and digital SLR, but the bigger draw is with the array of available accessories. Just about any adapter, lens, cap, filter and more can be found in these shops. They’ll also sell you cases, tripods, monopods, bags, and batteries, among countless other things. No matter how rare, there’s a good chance that at least one of these shops will not only sell it; they’ll have it in stock for a reasonable price.
Also known as Guanghwa, this area is accessible via the Metro blue line. Get off at the Zhongxiao Xinsheng station and walk north toward Civic Boulevard.
Near there, you will find three or four blocks loaded with electronics and computer stores. These shops are not only on the street level, but also in lower levels and second floors. I found that the prices and selection were generally better here than at NOVA, but the stores visually appear sketchier by comparison.
As before, the shops are loaded with all kinds of accessories and peripherals, as well as core equipment. There are keyboard covers, screen protectors, portable drives, different mounts, digital cameras, and so much more.
Behind the fruit market that you’ll be able to see from the corner is a newer building. This is the real Guanghwa Market, replacing the trailer-like structures that had previously filled the space. These niche stores sell just about every kind of electronic product and component imaginable. While there, visit the bakery on the first floor, a few steps away from the electronic gun store. Just follow your nose.
More Taiwanese Selection
Yes, you can find Japanese brands like Sony and Panasonic, but Taipei really is the place to go for Taiwanese brands. Check out the products by HTC, Acer, Asus, BenQ and others… and don’t forget to load up on those accessories too.