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This article was published on January 21, 2012

Paper iPads and iPhones help honor the deceased during Chinese New Year

Paper iPads and iPhones help honor the deceased during Chinese New Year
Jon Russell
Story by

Jon Russell

Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.

Apple may miss out on the lucrative New Year sales in China due to low stock, but the company and its products have penetrated the heart of the festival across Asia, with paper iPads and iPhones now part of a ritual that honours the deceased by burning gifts which are ‘sent’ to them.

Chinese New Year is celebrated right across Asia, such is the spread of people of Chinese ethnicity, and the paper Apple products have sprouted up across the continent, with the following items appearing in retail stores in Thailand, amongst other countries.

The paper iPad is particularly popular, and it opens in full, sporting a lifelike homescreen:

Other iPads are closed and stacked on a shelf, looking quite like a reasonable Asian fake in the process:

It isn’t just the iPad that is on offer. What could complete this stylish urban outfit, featuring a suit and flashy watch, better than an iPhone?

In what is a somewhat sexist move, the ladies’ version of the costume comes with a Nokia (or ‘Nolkia’) rather than an Apple smartphone.

These are not official Apple products, of course, but they do sport an Apple-like logo and other features to encourage a likeness with its products.

This isn’t the first time that paper iPads and iPhones have been sold for Chinese traditions. As Yahoo reported, paper iPads were “hot sellers” during the Ching Ming festival in a number of countries last April.

A number of other material goods — including shoes, clothes, stereos, and even credit cards — are burnt for the ritual but the popularity of these tech devices is significant. Not only are mobile phones and tablets now a major part of modern life across Asia, but Apple products are the most desired.

Update: As pointed by a commenter, the paper items are for the Qing Ming festival during March/April time, however they are being sold now, during Chinese New Year.

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