Despite Sanctions, Russians Still Obtaining Latest PCs From Major Brands

(Image credit: HP)

Most of the world's renowned PC brands left Russia after it invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Despite this, the country keeps getting PCs with Apple, Dell, and HP badges through grey market imports. Foreign-controlled brands commanded over 90% of the Russian PC market last year, with only 9% coming from local brands, according to CNews. Interestingly, CPU sales remained flat in 2022 even though neither AMD nor Intel officially shipped products to Russia, reports Kommersant

According to data from GS Group cited, Chinese brands remained the leading PC suppliers — including Lenovo and Huawei — in Russia in 2022, with about 38% market share. On the other hand, Taiwanese vendors — such as MSI, Acer, and Asus — captured a 35% share of the Russian PC market, whereas U.S.-originating PC OEMs (Apple, Dell, HP, etc.) controlled approximately 19% of the market in 2022, down from 36% in 2021. By contrast, Russian vendors supplied 9% of PCs sold in the country, up from 4% in 2021 and 3% in 2022. 

While the majority of well-known American, Chinese, and Taiwanese PC makers officially left Russia after it started the war against Ukraine, their products now flow to Russia through other countries, including Turkey and the UAE, to name a few. PCs carrying badges of domestic PC vendors are primarily produced in China as barebones, shipped to the country officially, and configured locally. While their popularity is increasing, this does not mean that the country is expanding its production of computers. Instead, some companies have started selling PCs under their own brands more aggressively.

GS Group does not disclose how many PCs were sold in Russia in 2022. Meanwhile, analysts from Marvel, a major distributor in the country, estimated that sales of PCs in the country reached 1.18 million units in the first half of the year. While it is hard to say how many units were supplied in the second half of the year since many brands left, it is reasonable to assume that the Russian PC TAM exceeded two million units in 2022. 

Interestingly, but based on the numbers from the Federal Customs Service, only about half of the CPUs powering those systems were supplied to the country legally. 

Kommersant reports that about 1.027 million CPUs were shipped to Russia in 2022. Some 782 thousand of them were made by Intel (up 9% year-over-year), 143 thousand carried the AMD trademark (down 2x compared to 2021), whereas another 102 thousand were developed by other vendors, which probably includes some Chinese names.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • flashflood101
    Imagine the price premium those grey-market imports would be attracting...
  • The sanctions are absolutely useless. What they do is they get people in other countries to buy stuff for them. Usually friends and family. They don’t work and are utterly useless.

    I agree with what has been said. Useless virtue signaling. Don’t be the person who gets triggered and says nasty stuff.
  • thisisaname
    Hard to stop when you can drive a truck full of them down the room. Customs checks are done on stuff coming into a country and I assume no one (or very few are) checking the contents of trucks going out.
  • bit_user
    Mandark said:
    The sanctions are absolutely useless.
    They increase prices and make it hard to get some of the more exotic components. But, you're right that commodities are difficult to sanction.

    It works a lot better, when it's a more specialized product - especially one with far fewer producers & distributors. And here's where sanctions have actually had a real impact, by restricting key electronics & other components needed for various military equipment and smart munitions.