Apple iPhone in China

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Apple is one of the most successful companies in the world, producing and distributing electronics all over the globe. The iPhone stands out to be one of the company’s most successful products, which was designed to embrace multiculturalism and to ensure a quality experience among users. However, the product faced various challenges from the Chinese government, compromising its success in the region. Nevertheless, the phone has been greatly embraced in the region due to the kind of experience it offered the Chinese consumers.

Culture and Social Structure

The contemporary Chinese society is open, in that it allows young individuals to embrace foreign cultures. The Chinese people love simplicity. This is an aspect that has been well incorporated in Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad, allowing them to fit perfectly in the country (Lehuan, Xuan, Danfei, Yongming, Hao, & Changhua, 2011). The design of the iPhone has been developed into a symbolic fashion-forwardness, status, youth, coolness, technological forwardness, and unconventionality. In China, the consumers of iPhones internalize these symbols, regardless of their improper use of the phone. As much as the iPhone faces resistance from the consumers in the Chinese market, Apple Inc. has shown effective cultural homogenization in the region. The corporate consumer culture of Apple defines the urgency of the unofficial users of the iPhone, an aspect that is based on consumption (Shi, 2011). The users in China break the restrictions put on the phone's content, service, and software, but they still buy a large number of the phones, facilitating its success in the country. The usage of the iPhone in China, mostly the showing off that comes with possession of a piece, markets the phone further.

Language and Education

The Chinese language is the carrier of the country’s national culture. However, it is evident that most individuals, including highly educated people, do not have the skills to use Chinese language properly (BBC News China, 2013). The iPhone provided a new experience in the country with various applications that allowed the Chinese people to learn their national language and thus to promote education within the country. This is an aspect that has contributed to the success of the phone in the Chinese market.

Corruption and Moral Obligation

Apple Company and its production partner Foxconn have been linked to various cases of lack of morality in the way they handle their employees. For instance, various cases of suicide have been reported among Foxconn employees, a situation that has been linked to the stressful conditions under which they work (Sethi, 2012). The company has also been associated with cases of underage workers, deplorable living conditions, health hazards, involuntary labor, and involuntary standards of living. According to an audit of Apple Company in China, it was identified that the company has involved itself in corruption cases including falsifying records and bribery. It has also been reported that workers at Foxconn have exhibited health effects as a result of exposure to harmful substances such as hexane. Such workers have not been compensated. However, the users of Apple products in China do not give much attention to the production process, but they remain loyal to the company’s logo (Shi, 2011).


It is evident that the iPhone has enjoyed success in the Chinese market. However, the product has failed in various areas that could facilitate its success in the region if they were adjusted. The market in China is narrow, and thus, the Chinese people look forward to a commodity that would be cheap enough to fit in their financial status, yet efficient enough to meet their needs. Thus, the pricing of the iPhone should have been made with considerations to the financial status of the Chinese people. Apple Company should develop strategies that would ensure that they provide the Chinese people with accessibility to all the applications in order to improve their experiences. The company should also improve the working conditions of the employees in order to motivate them towards working with better proficiency.


BBC News China. (2013, September 12). China media: iPhone models. Retrieved November 4, 2013, from BBC News:

Lehuan, W., Xuan, F., Danfei, L., Yongming, J., Hao, Z., & Changhua, L. (2011, November 17). Apple Inc. Retrieved November 4, 2013, from Copenhagen Business College:

Sethi, P. S. (2012, April 2). Two Faces of Apple. Retrieved November 4, 2013, from Carnegie Council:

Shi, Y. (2011). iPhones in China: The Contradictory Story of Media-ICT Globalization in the Era of Media Convergence and Corporate Synergy. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 35 (2), 134-156.