AppleiPhone 5CConsumers in China aren’t too happy about the price of the new iPhone 5C from Apple. But they’re still lining up to buy it. Local buyers feel “cheated” by the relatively high price of the device, according to the South China Morning Post. The iPhone 5C is largely thought to be Apple’s slightly-more-budget-conscious device with what design chief Jony Ive called an “unapologetically plastic” back, compared to the metal backbone and cladding of the iPhone 5 and 5S. While cheaper, it’s still not cheap, and the no-contract price in China is actually more expensive than in the U.S., believe it or not, due to local tariffs. The price of the cheapest-model iPhone 5C is 4,488 yuan ($733), while the no-contract 16GB iPhone 5C costs just $549 this side of the Pacific. “I thought the cheap 5C version would be priced at one thousand or two (thousand yuan),” one Chinese citizen said on Sina Weibo, tongue planted quite elegantly in cheek. “I can’t sell my kidney for this much.” He was referring to the tragic case in the summer of 2012 when a 17-year-old boy in China’s Hunan province sold a kidney for cash to buy an iPhone and an iPad, then suffered renal failure and was too sick to appear in court in the subsequent lawsuit. China is a key market for Apple, as it is for all smartphone manufacturers. The populous country bought one-third of all smartphones sold globally last quarter and nearly three times as many as American consumers, which means that if Apple wants to win global market share for iPhone, which has been a concern, it has to compete aggressively in China. The problem is not just Apple and its pricing. The problem is also Chinese government fees, or tariffs, which are the main factor in pushing the mainland Chinese price over what an American consumer would pay. Another barrier is that consumers in China tend to pay up front for their phones, while many Americans and others in the western world choose to essentially lease-to-own subsidized phones, which in the iPhone 5C’s case, starts at just $99. The reality is that iPhone 5C is cheaper, is causing massive interest in China, and will almost certain bump Apple’s market share in the hottest smartphone market on the planet. But given its price, the reality is also that there was plenty of opportunity to capture even more of the Chinese market with a lower-cost device.
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Digital Revolution and Repression in Myanmar and Thailand
Activists have also proactively published social media content in multiple languages using the hashtags #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar and #WhatsHappeningInThailand to boost coverage of events on the ground.
How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?
– After falling significantly in 2020, oil prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels
– The rise has been driven by OPEC+ production cuts and an improving economic climate
– Higher prices are likely to support a rebound in oil-producing emerging markets
– Further virus outbreaks or increased production would pose challenges to price stability
A combination of continued production cuts and an increase in economic activity has prompted oil prices to return to pre-pandemic levels – a factor that will be crucial to the recovery of major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Brent crude prices rose above $60 a barrel in early February, the first time they had exceeded pre-Covid-19 values. They have since continued to rise, going above $66 a barrel on February 24.
The ongoing increase in oil prices, which have soared by 75% since November and around 26% since the beginning of the year, marks a dramatic change from last year.
Following the closure of many national borders and the implementation of travel-related restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, demand for oil slumped globally.
In the wake of the Saudi-Russia price war in early 2020, Brent crude prices fell from around $60 a barrel in February that year to two-decade lows of $20 a barrel in late April, as supply increased and demand plummeted. The value of WTI crude – the main benchmark for oil in the US – fell to record lows of around $40 a barrel last year on the back of a lack of storage space.
While global demand for oil remains low, one factor credited with reversing the trend is the decision to make significant cuts to oil production, which subsequently tightened global supplies.
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