We’ve been asked this a lot recently and so have decided to clarify this, or at least attempt to. This write-up will be focused on the car audio products, however it should apply in general we suppose.


If for some strange reason you need to read in detail regarding parallel imports, check out the wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_import.


For the rest of us, the question really is should we buy parallel imports or not? Personally, we are for the free-market so we won’t really tell you if you should or should not buy parallel imports. However, whats important to us is that you are given clear and transparent information up front so that you can make your own decisions based on the provided information.


When browsing certain products, namely brand name products, have you encountered situations where the same seller or different sellers sell the same products but at different prices and warranty coverage. Some may state “local supplier warranty” or “warranty come back to us”.  Others may be “manufacturer warranty” or “official warranty”. What’s the difference you ask.


Notice the price range and the option of Import Set and Malaysia Set

Notice the price range and the option of Import Set / Malaysia Set


Generally, in this case, name brand products fall in 2 buckets.

Bucket 1 – Official Channels.  Manufactures or Appointed Distributors of the Brand.

This would be the owners of the brand or the local official representative of the brand. Typically this would be the official distribution channel of the brands.

Bucket 2 – Unofficial Channels.  Parallel Importers or Grey Importers.

This would be persons importing the products from their own sources into the country. This would be unofficial distribution channel and not affiliated with the brand owners.

How to identify?

So, how would you know if a product is one or the other? I guess the most logical thing would be is to ask the seller. However, if you don’t get a straight answer, or if the seller is clueless, then there are a few things you could lookout for.

  • Check if official warranty cards are provided in the box. In most cases, one will be provided with the address of the local brand office. However, in some cases they require online registration for warranty, so there will be no printed warranty cards.

  • Check if the brand owner or distributor stickers are on the box or the product itself.


  • Check if serial numbers are present. In most cases they should be, but it varies from product to product.


Now that you have some idea on how to identify parallel imports, how do you go about making the decision. We think the best way is to weigh the Pro’s and Con’s and then see what your brain tells you.


Official Channels


  • Genuine Complete Products
  • Nationwide Warranty Coverage
  • Product Support


  • Higher Price


Unofficial Channels


  • Cheaper


  • Products may be incomplete
  • Warranty Coverage by seller
  • No Product Support


We hope this has been helpful to you. Feel free to share this if you think it would help a friend. If you think we can make this post better, do share your thoughts with us.


Thanks for reading.