Apple’s Misstep with Dragon Year iPhone Case in China
Apple, as a leading technology company, has its products selling well in many countries and regions worldwide. China is especially crucial for Apple, with the Greater China region contributing to about 20% of Apple’s annual revenue. This makes Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, pay special attention to the Chinese market.
Due to Apple’s significant presence in the Chinese market, every move and decision made by Apple receives extensive attention from countless Chinese people. Any slight misstep could potentially lead to a situation similar to Samsung’s past blunders.
After the release of the iPhone 15 series, Apple made two highly controversial moves. Previously, Apple’s official website used an image of a customer service representative wearing an Apple Watch. The individual in the image was described as having “yellow skin, long braids, wide-set eyes, a high hairline, and eyes that are not sufficiently open.”
Many netizens associated the long braids with the Qing Dynasty, thinking of Manchurian officials. Long braids and narrow eyes have seemingly become symbols of insult to the Chinese, hence the strong negative reaction from netizens.
Now, Apple has introduced a “Dragon Year” phone case for the iPhone 15 series, which has been criticized by netizens for its lack of understanding of Chinese culture. The case features a dragon pattern.
According to Apple’s official statement, this Dragon Year edition iPhone 15 series case was specially designed to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Dragon, with the pattern meticulously drawn by the renowned illustrator Yulong Lli.
The design incorporates vibrant peony fireworks, flowing lines, and bright colors, showcasing the spirit of the dragon and symbolizing celebration and good fortune.
From the product images, it can be seen that the case features a four-clawed dragon pattern in bright red, with a high degree of recognizability, priced at 498 yuan, a “sky-high” cost for a phone case.
However, this expensive phone case has been pointed out by many netizens as lacking an understanding of Chinese culture because the depicted pattern is that of a four-clawed dragon. Some netizens have indicated that in traditional Chinese culture, “a five-clawed dragon represents a dragon, while a four-clawed dragon represents a python,” suggesting that Apple misrepresented the dragon as a python.
Subsequently, the topic of “Apple’s Dragon Year phone case criticized for depicting a python as a dragon” quickly became a trending topic. Many netizens criticized the nearly 500 yuan phone case, expressing that Apple is earning money too easily.
In ancient China, it was generally believed that “a three-clawed dragon represents a water dragon, a four-clawed dragon represents an earth dragon, and a five-clawed dragon represents a dragon,” which was a widely held belief.
However, the ancient depiction of dragons was not definitive because dragons themselves do not exist; they are a spiritual totem. Therefore, there was no singular depiction of dragons in ancient China. Each era constructed its own image of the dragon based on its own aesthetics, resulting in vastly different dragon representations over different periods.
Before the Yuan Dynasty, three or four-clawed dragons were common. However, it was during the Yuan Dynasty that rulers decreed that a dragon should have five claws and two horns, and only the Emperor could wear attire featuring a five-clawed dragon. Other officials and commoners were only allowed to wear attire featuring three or four-clawed dragons.
This determination of a dragon having five claws has been perpetuated, leading to the widespread belief that a dragon should have five claws. For instance, the commemorative banknotes for the Year of the Dragon feature a five-clawed dragon, which is a universally recognized symbol.
By creating such a phone case, priced at 498 yuan, Apple should have taken the initiative to thoroughly research Chinese culture. It is evident that Apple did not deeply explore traditional Chinese culture, leading to this misunderstanding.
Apple’s customer service has already responded to this issue, stating that the situation has been thoroughly documented, and any updates to products and images will be officially announced.
Apple releasing a Dragon Year phone case during the Year of the Dragon had good intentions. However, considering that an ordinary phone case is being sold for 498 yuan, attention to detail is required, rather than a casual approach.
So, would you consider purchasing this expensive Apple phone case? Feel free to comment, like, and share your thoughts.