The Chinese and The iPhone


During my five months teaching English in China this past year, I remember the first day I walked into class and was talking with my college students that I was to teach conversational English to. They were ALL on their phones and it looked like they were texting friends and being extremely unattentive. So, wanting to be a teacher that demanded authority and respect, I told them all to put their cell phones away. They looked at me with disappointment that I had ruined their fun, but I felt glad to have their undivided attention. A few weeks went by and, as I was sitting, talking to a student during a lunch break, they pulled out their phone and began pushing in letters on their cell phone pad. I explained to them that it was somewhat rude to be talking to someone and texting someone else at the same time. They looked at me and said, “Oh no, teacher, I am typing in the words that you say so that I can understand your accent.” Embarrassed, I realized that the students had translators on their phones and were trying to interpret the words I was saying and using in class so that they could better understand my crazy English.

Needless to say, they were still a little shy to use cell phones in class from then on, but it revealed to me just how technology hungry the Chinese people and new generation are. They have the same desire to be connected to the world and to their friends much like our American culture does. They may have further opportunities now with the possible launch of the iPhone in China. According to Electronista, Steve Jobs “has previously said he hoped a deal could be reached for the iPhone in China by the end of the year.”

The iPhone in China would be another revolutionary and technological advance for the Chinsese people. They are becoming more and more savy in the technology world and are understanding the importance of connection and integration in our global economy. While the version of the iPhone sold in China may be a signficantly stripped down version of the one sold everywhere else (so that Chinamobile and other cellphone companies can control and regulate purchase and activity) it would be wise of Apple to strive to reach a deal with a country that is hungry to get connected and to have the same type of technology that its American counterparts does.

If Steve Jobs and Apple can create an iPhone that doesn’t require a full-out launch of Apple stores and Apple products in China, the new Chinese generation would buy iPhones left and right, not so much worried about the cost as the status they would have if they were carrying around an American product like the iPhone.

It will be interesting to see in months to come how and if Apple will strike a deal with one of the fastest growing countries in our ever-shrinking world.

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