What caused iPhones to be status symbols in China and around the world?
In the big Chinese cities, to have an iPhone is not a very distinctive symbol anymore, as so many people have one now. Actually, people that will want to exhibit their Apple products to show off may be seriously laughed at.
One funny word that has been out on the Chinese Internet for the last years is tuhao (土豪). It is a slang that describes the new richs that have lots of money but no taste when it comes to wear clothes, drive cars, etc. I remember that this word became very popular online in 2013 after the iPhone 5 went out. People coined IPhone tuhao jin which approximately means “the gold of the rich peasants “ because many new rich where just fighting with very stupid prices to be the first to have it. They have been lots of fun made of iPhone owners based on this word since then.
So if iPhone still an indicator of social status today in China, it is not always associated with the expected symbol of being modern, westernized and successful. It may also be regarded as you having very poor taste and being just following some mainstream consuming patterns. IPhones have become such common products in China, it won ‘t raise any attention really - except in some really remote rural villages maybe.
It still a very practical and great phone and this is acknowledge by most Chinese, especially since their Internet life is mostly on mobile.
This text was originally published in quora.