When we think of luxury brands, we think of names like Gucci and Prada. Of soft leather and gold trimmings. But according to a new survey, shoppers in China would rather have the cool, slick shine of a new iPhone.
A Chinese luxury publication has called Apple the most desirable luxury brand, beating out the Guccis and the Pradas of the world.
As Seth Doane reports from Beijing, Apple devices are coveted not just for their functionality -- such as the pleasing way Chinese characters appear on the new larger-screened iPhones -- but because they are status symbols.
For the first time, Apple surpassed its rivals to become the leader in smartphone sales in China last quarter, despite the fact that the handsets cost about twice as much as competing phones. More iPhones are now being sold in China than in the U.S.
Apple is not being passive about cashing in on the growing popularity. It is tailoring more of its commercials to a Chinese audience and opening stores rapid fire. There are currently 16 Apple stores in China, including the busiest one in the world, in Shanghai, which sees 25,000 visitors a day. The company plans to open four more stores in the next two weeks, to coincide with the Chinese New Year, and to double the total number by the middle of next year.
Indeed, Apple has China to thank for record earnings, which reached an all-time high in the last quarter of 2014. The company saw quarterly revenues of $74.6 billion, and an unprecedented $18 billion in profits, largely on its success there.