iPhone X has hit the shelves in Mainland China, but it remains to be seen if Apple’s new flagship will win the hearts and minds of the Chinese people. This, however, will likely more depend on changes within consumers themselves rather than the actual technology the new iPhone X is offering.

iPhone has long been the phone in China. Men bought iPhones to propose to their girlfriends (and got turned down), Chinese nouveau riche, derogatorily called “tuhao,” bought golden iPhones to match their golden Ferraris, shopping platform Taobao hawked Apple-branded toilet seats, lighters, and slippers–this was the power of Apple in China. Chinese consumers have earned the reputation of having a “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality caused by increasing wealth and standards and this has served Apple well. But this time, the new iPhone is priced double than the average salary in China.

“Compared to several years ago, I think the iPhone may be less of a status symbol, but that all depends on who you talk to,” said Jessica Rap, Senior Writer at Jing Daily which follows China’s luxury market. “Chinese consumers now have more options when it comes to phone tech. Discerning Chinese consumers, in general, are becoming less focused on branding and more concerned with quality buys. When local phone companies like Huawei and Xiaomi are offering similar technology for a much more affordable price point, it leaves consumers more money to spend on other purchases, especially when phones like the iPhone X are priced so high.”

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Masha Borak

Masha Borak is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Write to her at masha.borak [at] technode.com. Pitches with the word "disruptive" will be ignored. Read a good book - learn some more adjectives.