Kimi bought an iPhone 3G today (see left, picture taken on my now very crappy-looking Sony Ericsson). For someone who usually analysis every aspect of any kind of decision, she quickly came to the conclusion that she had to have an iPhone -- and a white one too. The only way for people in mainland China to get hold of one of these things is to buy it from one of the many "phone markets". Here, they mainly deal with imported handsets that aren't currently, or will never be available in the country. The phones are then unlocked to accept a Chinese SIM card. All of this is completely illegal and ignored by the authorities (just business as usual in China).
The only drawback for the customer is that the phones come with an over-inflated price tag -- the iPhone being no exception to this rule. Why China Mobile haven't done everything they can to launch this must-have product here is beyond me. Apparently an agreement was in talks but things went sour and Apple pulled out.
I can show you how much money these people are making off each phone by looking at Kimi's transaction today. First of all, I'm sure most people would gasp at the £399 o2 are selling the 16GB iPhone for on a "pay as you go" tariff. But wait, today Kimi got hers for an eye-watering 5,500 RMB (about £460) -- no Apple warranty or guarantee included of course. This is in a place where dinner costs £2 and taxi fares are 75p. It's insane, but she doesn't seem to mind the ripping-off that has taken place.
Another drawback with the phone is that it is from America, so when Kimi came to synchronise it to iTunes, it requested that her AT&T card needed to be registered first....there is no AT&T card. She's going to have to go back to the market and get it dealt with tomorrow, she's not happy about it. Another annoyance is that the 3G capabilities of the phone are of no use here because there's no 3G coverage yet.
I will stop my moaning now and express my jealousy of not owning such a beautifully designed piece of equipment myself. It's no surprise it's been such a hit around the world. Sure, the battery-life may be terrible, but I imagine it's only because everybody can't take their hands off the thing all day.
Speaking of illegal activity, copyright infringement is everywhere in China, from Adidos to Nokir they've thought of it all. I'm sure my local "Brioche Doree" bakery (see below) does not belong to this Brioche Doree. Although it seems the parent company have recently reinvented their logo, a quick look on google brings up the older, more familiar one.
Hopefully we will be going to Wu Zhen and Xi Tang for the Mid-Autumn festival holiday. They are two traditional Chinese towns that were also filming locations for Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 3 (the parts where he is running around a very stereotypical Chinese scene which is supposed to be Shanghai in the movie).