Apple's must-have accessories for China's fashionable yuppies

Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:54am EDT
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By Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters) - So strong is the appeal of the Apple brand in China, some Chinese are willing to sell a kidney to pay for its gadgets.

Apple Inc's iPads, iPhones and iMacs have been a smash hit in China, especially with the affluent, and upwardly mobile, middle classes and fashion-conscious urban youth who are snapping up the slinky, easy-to-use goods with gusto.

The apparently insatiable appetite for Apple goods in the world's second largest economy is good news for the Cupertino, California-based firm, which reported forecast-smashing results this week, helped by massive growth in Asia, and China in particular.

It's also created a sizable market for knock-offs in the world's prime manufacturer of imitation goods, where pirates set up a fake Apple Store in the southwestern city of Kunming that is so good that even the employees believe it's the real deal.

"Apple is a very well-known brand in China, and that's reason enough for some people to buy," said Xu Ziqing, a 23-year-old Beijing hotel receptionist.

"Chinese people these days care very much about brands. They might not know whether the product is truly good or bad, but if it's a good brand, they will want it."

Desperation to get hold of Apple computers can lead to extreme behavior.

Last month, state media reported that a teen-ager from the poor inland province of Hunan had sold one of his kidneys to be able to afford an iPad 2.   Continued...

<p>Employees at a fake Apple store use an iPad tablet in Kunming, Yunnan province July 22, 2011. REUTERS/Wong Campion</p>