Friday, October 07, 2011

China Mourns Steve Jobs. But Can It Produce Its Own Tech Visionary? - Global Spin -

Apple products are generally more expensive in China than in the West, despite local disposable income being a fraction of that in the developed world. A thriving black market helps fuel the Apple mania. Beijing street stalls, for instance, already sell iPhone 5 cases—a bit premature since Apple's much anticipated product launch earlier this month turned out to be for an iPhone 4S, not an iPhone 5. Earlier this year, an entire fake Apple store was discovered in southwest China. Want a Steve Jobs action doll? It's available in Beijing.

I can't think of a Western company more revered in China than Apple is. Its products, which aren't modified for a Chinese audience but instead represent a universal design aesthetic, are the ultimate totem of the Chinese Dream. Much has been made of Jobs' ties to Buddhism, how Eastern spirituality shaped the pure, pared-down beauty of Apple products. (Many Chinese would be distressed, no doubt, to find out that Beijing's nemesis, the Dalai Lama, was once featured in an Apple ad.) But for many in China's tech-obsessed generation, Jobs represented, I think, the triumph of an American Dream nourished by creativity and individuality. For as much as China churns out more engineers and programmers than America does, it has yet to produce a Steve Jobs.