Sleepless Over Phablet?

Why are Chinese people so crazy for the new iPhone?

Last month with the launch of the new iPhone (iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus), many Chinese people started purchasing them quite crazily again in other countries like Japan and the United States, because the new iPhone is not available in the mainland of China. 

It is reported that unpleasant quarrels and fights also happen between these Chinese buyers when purchasing the new iPhone in the Apple store, which naturally drew negative public opinions throughout the world.

Also last month, I had a short trip to Hong Kong with my mother for vacation. A friend of mine got this news and then asked me to help purchase a new iPhone for him in Hong Kong, but I refused politely with the excuse that I have very tight schedule there. It is not because I really cannot set aside some time to buy it in the Apple store, it’s just I don’t want to become a member of those “crazy people!” Overseas bad press about them already makes me feel uncomfortable.

Why Chinese people (especially from the mainland) are so crazy for the new iPhone? 

Why were they so eager to own it earlier than others? And why they cannot wait to use it several months later with more reasonable price? 

The reasons are complicated, but I think most people want to show off  and indicate they have better purchasing power and social connections than others. In China, consumer products like mobile phones and cars usually are perceived as “status symbol.” They are not simply regarded as daily tools, but more connected with people’s social status and financial prowess. It’s already a chronic phenomenon and problem, closely related to the rules and culture of the country.

However, I’m not denying that some Chinese people are crazy for the new iPhone because they are truely huge fans of Apple products, and want to own and use it instantly. As we know, the new iPhone really has many more innovative features than before and looks quite attractive. Even so, I think they can pre-order and purchase on line, rather than buying with panic behavior in the Apple stores all over the world and lead to all Chinese people lose “face” (or reputation) . Dignity and rationality should be more valued than “showing off”!

Lee Zhang, Shanghai

Lee Zhang

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