How China’s Love of Gold Influences Apple Product Designs

China is one of the world’s biggest producers of gold, as well as one of the most active net buyers. India is the only other country with a higher demand for the precious metal. The desire for gold in that market is so strong in fact, it’s most of the reason why Apple has been featuring gold-colored versions of its products.

In an interview with Bloomberg Business, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that his company takes Chinese consumer tastes into account when it designs many of its products. This makes perfect sense, since Greater China (which includes China, Taiwan and Hong Kong) is now Apple’s second-largest market – after the United States.

In the US, gold colored items can seem gaudy or ostentatious. But in China, gold, black and silver are the colors most widely associated with luxury (they are also the colors of the latest iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and Apple Watch). Unfortunately, Apple’s signature white-colored devices would likely be unpopular in China – where the color white is associated with death, mourning, and funerals. In fact, giving gifts wrapped in white would be a cultural faux pas.

To appeal to the Chinese market, Apple has released gold-colored versions of their products since 2013, including:

  • iPhone 5S
  • iPhone 6 
  • iPhone 6 Plus 
  • iPad Air 2 
  • iPad mini 3
  • MacBook

That’s not to mention the Edition version of the Apple Watch made with actual gold (the pre-orders for which sold out in China). Perhaps this affinity for gold will eventually catch on in the US as well.

 

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