Popularity of Smartphones in Shanghai
May 22, 2013
It is not easy to find someone, who is still using a traditional cell phone, especially here in Shanghai. Shanghai's per capita GDP now well exceeds US$10,000, which explains Shanghai is the wealthiest city in China.
On my Line 9 subway ride to Songjiang University, where at least 15 stations away from the downtown and this mid-day crowded train runs every three minute or so, I have found out most passengers were relatively younger than some other subway lines.
Looking at around the train car, passengers kept facing down tapping smartphone screens for gaming or simply watching videos. By the way, no one seems to type emails or read daily news as most smartphone users in developed nations do or they were just young enough.
It seemed that popularity of iPhone yielded the best as I looked around the train car to check, followed by Samsung, Taiwan's THC, and China's Huawei. While I was glancing in the train car, I found two iPhone 5 users, two iPhone 4 or 4S users, two Samsungs, four other smartphones, and one iPad mini.
Cost of an iPhone 5 (5,088RMB) is not inexpensive in China as a customer has to purchase a full list price plus monthly data plans, like AT&T. Otherwise, many Chinese buy unlocked iPhones sold in Hong Kong to take advantage of getting a cheaper iPhone without data package offered by China Unicom.
However, ordinal Shanghai workers generally earn around a salary of 3,000-6,000RMB per month. I know I have said the Shanghai's per capita GDP was well above 10,000RMB but the income gap in this area was astonishing. Some get more than 100,000RMB a month while a printing shop worker gets 2,000RMB a month. A food stand worker, in fact, gets more than 5,000RMB a month while no perks should be available.
That being said, getting an iPhone 5 is a one-month salary commitment for the local Chinese. Buying a cup of Starbucks coffee represents a status for modernity and higher wealth in Shanghai. Interestingly, they (I mean Shanghai people) never buy faked iPhones, rather they think having a real iPhone is one of the best fashions in this fast-changing city of Shanghai.
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