Here in Australia we have the "Salvos" and "Vinnies" and many other "op shops" that sell old stuff people donated, and we have "Cash Converters" who buys your stuff when you need cash fast and resell it to the public.

In Japan there is a huge chain called "Hard Off" and several other variants plus competitors mainly known as "recycle shops" (リサイクル) these days.

In much of Europe there are flea markets, which might only run on weekends.

But even though I've spent six months travelling around Taiwan over two trips I don't recall ever seeing anything similar, except perhaps selling only used furniture or appliances/whitegoods.

I suppose they exist and I just don't know what they're called and how to find them. They're probably in low-rent areas of city outskirts?

Does anybody know what such places are called in Chinese in Taiwan, whether there are any big chains, whether there are brick-and-mortar stores, or more like Sunday markets / car boot sales on weekends?

(I'd be looking for early '80s tech and electronics but maybe other things too. Oh and I do know two ways to say "used" or "secondhand" in Chinese are 中古 zhōnggǔ and 二手 èrshǒu, but I knew that last time I was in Taiwan and didn't find any thrift stores.)


1 Answer 1


Individuals in any place always are different, but Japanese culture long has embraced collecting. When combined with the prolonged economic slump in the 1990s, this strengthened a willing market of sellers interested in liquidating goods that were no longer needed and buyers who wanted to save money, etc.

In general, Taiwanese culture is less enthusiastic about used or second-hand goods. It is not uncommon for second-hand goods, especially clothing, to be viewed with superstition even. Many donated goods are shipped overseas rather than sold locally.

What second-hand goods are available locally often focus on antiques (or reproduction antiques) or vintage clothing (or vintage-inspired clothing). In Taipei, there are some antique type shops around Dihua (迪化街) and some vintage clothing type shops around Gongguan (公館).

Although it doesn’t concentrate on electronics per se (it often does have some older laptops, though), the closest thing to the Japanese chain Hard Off in Taiwan probably is BBbobo. In addition to using the “二手” (Èrshǒu), second-hand designation, it describes itself as a 跳蚤本舖 (Tiàozǎo běn pù), roughly a flea market, and 寄賣專門店 (Jìmài zhuānmén diàn), a consignment shop. Those likely are good terms to use in Taiwan.

With that said, used computer shops/consignment shops generally will have computers that are 5-10 years old. Computers of this age still will have some resale value and life left. Anything older than that, but still usable, probably will have been mostly sold off in bulk to other countries where incomes are lower than Taiwan (although inexpensive mobile devices have replaced some of this demand in recent years).

40-year old computers mostly were scrapped 25 years ago and buried in a landfill, sit forgotten in dad’s closet, or are in the possession of a collector or packrat. It seems doubtful that you will find much of this vintage for sale in a shop.

In Taipei, your best bet would be to go to the back streets around Guanghua Digital Plaza (光華商場) and ask around. Have some photos of what you’re looking for specifically and ask about old computers (旧电脑, Jiù diànnǎo) or very old computers (很旧的电脑). Odds are good that merchants generally will reply with 没有 (Méiyǒu) and a politely dismissive hand wave, but who knows, maybe you will uncover something interesting.

Hope this helps. Happy thrifting!

  • 3
    Fantastic answer! Welcome to travel.stackexchange Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 16:57
  • Thanks, Zach! Happy to help.
    – travelgasm
    Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 0:54
  • 1
    40-year old computers mostly were scrapped 25 years ago and buried in a landfill, sit forgotten in dad’s closet, or are in the possession of a collector or packrat in pretty much every country, that's part of why they're getting expensive. Japan is a bit anomalous in having conspicuous places to find them, the problem is to know where to hunt for what little does remain. Same goes for anything old and collectable really. It was the same when I was into classic cars thirty years ago. I know guanghua plaza area but never saw old stuff there. Thanks for the tips! Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 4:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .