Nvidia's top gaming GPU prices are out of control in Asia — RTX 4090 price hikes up to 60%

GeForce RTX 4090
GeForce RTX 4090 (Image credit: Nvidia)

Prices of Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4090, one of the best graphics cards, are soaring across Asian markets as people are willing to pay hefty sums of cash for them and then resell them in China or Hong Kong at a higher price. This phenomenon is spurred by U.S. export controls that ban shipments of GeForce RTX 4090 to China and numerous other countries. As a result, prices of GeForce RTX 4090 boards in some Asian countries soared by up to 60%, reports Nikkei.

The manufacturer suggested retail price of Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4090 is $1,599, which is quite expensive. But buyers in Guanghua Digital Plaza electronics market in Taiwan and Yongsan electronics market in South Korea 'unzip fanny packs filled with cash' to buy these cards for over $2,500 in a bid to later resell them in China or Hong Kong at triple the price. They do the same in Singapore and Vietnam.

"They are buying these to later resell them to areas that faced U.S. restrictions at a much higher price," one store owner told Nikkei. "They can just carry them to Hong Kong or other Chinese cities."

The rush for Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards led to their price increase across Asia and their scarcity. Overwhelmed by the demand, Taipei's Guanghua market retailers resorted to selling the GeForce RTX 4090 add-in boards only as part of complete gaming systems. But this move did little to discourage buyers as Chinese buyers began to purchase entire gaming PC systems to dismantle them for the hard-to-get graphics cards. This tactic highlights the extreme measures individuals are willing to take to procure these AIBs despite the high costs involved.

A retailer from Taipei told Nikkei that some buyers were so determined to get their hands on the GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards that they bought over 20 complete desktop computers, not for the computers themselves, but for the boards inside. According to the retailer, these buyers did not mind paying $4,500 per system as they were confident they could still sell these graphics cards for a good profit.

In November, the U.S. government banned shipments of Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4090 and numerous other high-performance GPUs to Hong Kong, China, and some other countries to circumvent the development of artificial intelligence (AI) applications in China.

Indeed, a co-founder of an AI startup based in Hong Kong, who wished to remain anonymous, told Nikkei that the export restrictions have significantly hindered their company's progress. Obtaining AI GPUs via legal channels has become overly hazardous, forcing the company to use an intermediary for their procurement.

The middlemen make hefty profits as GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards can still be bought in many locations in mainland China despite bans.

"There is no stock [of GeForce RTX 4090] right now, but it can take around three to four days to get it here," a vendor at the Huaqiangbei market in Shenzhen, China, told Nikkei.

Anton Shilov
Contributing Writer

Anton Shilov is a contributing writer at Tom’s Hardware. 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.

  • digitalgriffin
    Bound to happen. I wouldn't mind if anyone selling these, for overseas sale, were put up on treason or 3rd party agent charges.
  • Phaaze88
    Uhh... so will the next xx90 MSRP will be higher than the 4090's was?
    Nvidia would want to do away with these middlemen anyways.
  • aberkae
    Meanwhile the 4090 is coming down in the states, last week PNY version was seen at Gamestop for $1616 and tens available currently for around $1800 fyi.