Last year when I was shopping for a (regular-sized) region-free DVD player, I couldn’t find any generic chain-electronics stores that would admit to stocking region-free players. Carrefour was odd - a junior salesclerk said yes, but ran away to find a manager with more English, then the manager came back and hurriedly shook his head to deny the existence of any such product. I got the sense that they didn’t want to sell to a foreigner, as if they were afraid I was a WTO spy or something.
I did try a bunch of players at… uh… 全國電子？ 全世界電子? Named something like that. I just kept slotting in a region 1 disc, and it didn’t work in any of the players. Then again, the display models didn’t include the really low-end ones.
The fnac in Xinyi was willing to help (for many players, it’s just a matter of resetting a code with a specific remote); eventually my wife found one online, at a shop in a back alley somewhere around Shilin. We went and bought the player there (a Panasonic) and have had no problems. I never looked through the independent-style stores described above, because I hadn’t reached that stage yet.
Anyway, when I first bought a DVD player in Taiwan, 7-8 years ago, finding a region-free one was easy; but last year it seemed much more complicated. It’s definitely a somewhat gray market product now.