Golden Calls: Will China embrace a champagne iPhone?

Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:31pm EDT
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BEIJING Aug 22 (Reuters) - If Apple hopes to woo more Chinese by adding a glitzy coating - some call it champagne, some gold - to its next iPhone, it may be in for a surprise.

While gold is hugely popular as a safe haven and a status symbol - China is set to overtake India as the world's biggest gold consumer this year - shoppers at an Apple store in Beijing weren't all convinced it should be coupled with that pinnacle of mobile gadgetry.

Ni Suyang, a 49-year old worker at a Beijing state-owned enterprise, said that colour mattered less to her than the glass surface and silver metallic finish.

"A gold colour looks high-end but is a little tacky," she said.

Gold and mobile phones are not strangers. Britain's Gold & Co makes gold-plated iPhones, iPads and BlackBerrys which it also sells in India and China.

In Shenzhen many small local brands make gold-plated feature phones and smartphones. The less well-heeled can adorn their devices with jewel-studded and gold phone covers.

Apple's decision to add a champagne or gold covered iPhone to its range - confirmed by supply chain sources in Taiwan - would be a departure from its black and white norm.

Apple could be not reached for comment.   Continued...