Apple and iPhone Obsession in China

You know before I came to China I‘d have expected Apple and iPhones to be something reserved for the few wealthy ones. Like maybe 5-10% of the smartphone users would actually own an iPhone. You know, cause it‘s rather expensive, especially in a country where a large part of the people kinda have to survive with 300-400 €/month.

However, I was wrong. Like big time. I‘d say especially in Beijing the iPhone user rate is around 70-80%. This remained a mystery to me for the longest time. I mean, of course Chinese people care less about privacy rights or Apple controlling them, with that kind of behavior the company just fits the political system,.

But still, why investing such a large amount of money???

Well, here‘s my theory:

So it‘s kinda hard in a 20 million people city to have the classical status symbols: car, big house, w/e all make either no sense (ever driven a car in China? Especially Beijing? During rush hour? Yep, let the cab drivers deal with that, you‘re not gonna survive it.) or are multiple times as expensive as a phone. And China is after all all about status and ways you could display it. And Apple is THE status symbol, even more than in Germany (in Germany it‘s rather cool to say you‘re an Android user because you care so much about your freedom). Furthermore you can get stolen ones here pretty cheaply but I don‘t know how much that actually contributes to the total amount of iPhones I‘ve seen so far.

So we have this huge amount of iPhones and everybody is using it. Consequently the next problem Chinese people encountered was that now all of the sudden it wasn‘t that special anymore. But switching to a less valuable and popular brand wouldn‘t solve the problem (for people would be thinking you only have the other brand because you couldn‘t afford a real iPhone).

So what do you do? You pimp your iPhone China-style.

Believe me, the kind of cases and accessories you can find in China top anything and everything you‘ll most probably be able to find anywhere in the west. For onebecause they‘d sell those cases anywhere: normal accessory store (see picture), street, electronic store and any Chinese market you can find. Second because they don‘t have that natural restriction of wanting their phones to kinda look elegant or whatever Apple is trying to represent. It‘s already enough to be the brand. Apple with Hello Kitty is not destroying the image, it‘s adding to your own personality, readily displaying it for the world.

IMG_2299

Well, that results in a whole lot of new, (im)possible choices (and I will try to post more crazy case pics in the future): Blinky-blinky cases, plush toy cases (literally!), stickers for iPhone with all kinds of crazy motives, stupid pictures, embarrassing pictures, fairies, … I think you get the point (and I get the point that I need to post pics because a written description doesn‘t even come close to the visual proof).

I think this shows again how very different the Chinese mentality is from the Western one. But I love it. I resisted joining this weird movement for months now but during New Year‘s shopping they got me: I really bought stickers to put on my phone. Though I would say it‘s still the European elegant version of the Chinese possibilities I have to admit I have been pimped;)

Bildschirmfoto 2013-01-06 um 12.27.55

Maybe we all need to go a little bit more crazy sometimes 😉

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2 comments
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