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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - As if a Porsche isn't enough of a status symbol, the German luxury sports car company's subsidiary, Porsche Design, is marketing a mobile phone that's exclusive to Porsche owners.
The Porsche Design P'9522 BLACK, the latest in the company's series of mobile phones, held its global launch in Singapore, where, for now, only the 1,600 or so drivers of Porsche cars in the affluent city state can buy it from the car dealership, Stuttgart Auto.
The phone is made by Sagem Wireless and combines matt black anodized aluminum and black mineral glass. Features include a fingerprint sensor to authenticate users.
Retailing for 2,280 Singapore dollars ($1,636), the phone is about three times the price of a Blackberry or an iPhone in Singapore.
But its agent expects demand to be strong in the country and from the Asia Pacific, a region that Forbes magazine recently said witnessed an 80 percent increase in the number of billionaires in 2009.
"The Porsche Design brand is doing very well in Asia, Russia and the Middle East, and the usage of our products, especially mobiles, is high in Asia," said Samy Redjeb, business director for Brand Lab, the sole distributor of Porsche Design mobiles in several Asian countries, including China and Singapore.
"In Europe, people are used to buying phones that are subsidized by phone operators, but in Asia, people like to have something unique -- they like to show their status by putting the phone on the table, which says 'look, I'm rich'."
Porsche Design is a global luxury brand targeting men, founded in 1972 by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, the designer of the iconic Porsche 911 car.
Redjeb said the brand was doing very well in China, where Porsche has around a dozen car showrooms.
He forecast demand in Singapore would be boosted by its two casinos -- one of which is already open -- which he said would attract more rich tourists from Southeast Asia.
And for those craving even more distinction -- and with the pockets deep enough to pay for it -- Redjeb said Porsche Design was working on a luxury yacht that will also be launched in Asia.
Reporting by Miral Fahmy, editing by Ron Popeski