Photo: Burning incense at a Cholon pagoda.

Fixing a Mac in Saigon

Having computer problems while travelling through a foreign city can be a heartbreaker, taking away both a means of communication and a source of entertainment. While several shops service computers around Ho Chi Minh City, only a few repair Macs. If you’re passing through here and your Apple laptop is on the fritz, here’s where you can go to get it fixed.

Maybe it's an authorized reseller, maybe it's not.

Maybe it’s an authorised reseller, maybe it’s not.

Apple does not have an official presence in Ho Chi Minh; everything Apple sold in the city is handled through self-proclaimed authorised retailers. Most of these retail shops have the capacity to do repairs, or can lead you to a “friend” who can, but usually these establishments are a little sketchy. Plenty of horror stories float around town about poor repairs; Mac computers being held for a week and being returned untouched, others repaired but with key factory parts, unknowingly to the customer, replaced with cheaper pieces. My brother took his Mac to a shop for a power problem and got a computer back with a different hard drive. Eventually he got his old hard drive back, but it was completely reformatted.

Hard at work.

Hard at work.

Although all may seem lost, there is at least one shop in Saigon that is a true authorised repair shop for Apple computers. Inside the iStore (a chain with a few stores in the city including one in the Vincom Centre) on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai in District 3, KTC is one of only three shops in the city authorised to repair Macs.

Becoming Vietnam’s first Apple Authorised Service Provider in 2002, the shop is able to provide both service and parts for Apple computers. If you have a Mac that is still under warranty, KTC will be able to diagnose the computer’s problem and make the repair, if it is covered by said warranty, free of charge. If your computer is outside of its warranty period, a diagnosis at KTC will cost 330,000 VND and software troubleshooting will set you back 660,000 VND, which isn’t too bad considering what computer repair costs are in the West. The cost of uncovered repairs will vary with parts.

To get to the repair shop go through the iStore and up this narrow staircase.

You go up here, with your heart in your mouth.

Since few true authorised companies handle Apples in HCMC, and Macs already tend to run on the more expensive end of the spectrum, Apple hardware is at a premium. If you have to replace parts in your computer, expect the price to be high. On smaller items this may not be a big deal however, replacing something like the logic board could cost you hundreds of dollars or more.

While replacement part prices may give you sticker shock, the workers at KTC are professional, honest and upfront about costs; when my Mac recently died they let me know that the price for the repair wouldn’t be worth doing. Plus, they were more than helpful when I needed just a small bit of assistance, doing the work on my computer right in front of me. On big repairs, if you can hold off until you get to a more electronically Westernised place, like Singapore or Bangkok, that would be your best bet. But, if it’s a quick fix, or work covered under warranty, KTC is your place to go.

Last updated on 16th December, 2014.

Fixing a Mac in Saigon
384 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City

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