Sometimes it's difficult to comprehend China is still an officially communist country. Since the late 1970s when the late CPC Chairman Deng Xiaoping boldly stated "Socialism does not mean shared poverty" and "To get rich is glorious," China's long-suppressed business culture has hit the ground running and never looked back.
Need an example? Consider what happened after news broke that revered Apple founder and former CEO Steve Jobs had passed away.
Entrepreneurs got on their phones – iPhone knock-offs, in all probability – and shortly thereafter factory lights went on, machines began to hum and a range of black & white Steve Jobs themed iPhone 4 and iPad 2 shells flew off the production lines.
By early next morning and in time for the doors to open, the items had been delivered, stickered and stocked. Commenters figured the factories had been running all night in order to provide product for sale mere hours later.
One of the key distribution pints for the Steve Jobs memorial shells and cases was Shenzhen's Huaqiang North Road market, a gray-market telecom hub known colloquially as “Illegal Phone City”. Huaqiang North had priced the Jobs-themed iPhone 4 shells at 10 to 30 yuan ($1.60 to $4.70) each with memorial iPad 2 shells stickered slightly higher. Needless to say, business was booming.
It was the speed at which the items hit store shelves, however, that made the biggest impression. “If there is any place faster and better than the iTunes Store,” reported the local Nanfang Daily newspaper, “it must be Huaqiang North.”
Not everyone is impressed by what some see as a mad rush to capitalize on Jobs' passing; “capitalize” being uncomfortably close to Capitalism in a China only a few decades removed from the Cultural Revolution.
M.I.C Gadget, who have had their finger on the pulse of China's emerging tech-savvy society for some time now, decries both the uninspired design of these “tribute” accessories and the unseemly hurry to bring them to market. Sez M.I.C's headline, “Crappy iPhone Covers Profit From Death of Steve Jobs.”
It's unknown whether Apple themselves will produce anything remotely similar as an official commemoration of their inspired founder – no, these knockoffs are neither officially approved nor licensed by Apple.
Maybe that's just as well... the phenomenal popularity, acceptance and success of Apple's culture-changing electronic devices is perhaps the most appropriate tribute to the man who changed the world we live in for the better. (via China Daily, Want China Times, and NDDaily)
EDITOR'S UPDATE: If you want your own Steve Jobs Tribute iPhone Cover, you can now get it here.