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4S phone fever hits China

By Shi Yingying (China Daily)

10:43, October 24, 2011

A proud Apple customer shows off the new iPhone 4S he purchased at an Apple store in Munich, Germany. (Photo: China Daily)

BEIJING, Oct. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- Thirty-year-old Chen Liang acquired his iPhone 4S in a relatively straightforward way without visiting the gray market. He typed "Looking for an iPhone 4S through weibo" on the Chinese equivalent of Twitter at 9 am on Oct 17 and secured one by 2 pm that day.

The software engineer was lucky. Thousands of Chinese Apple fans are desperate for the 4S regardless of the price and effort required after China was left out of Apple's list of first and second groups of countries where it launched its latest product.

"A friend's friend in Canada put me in contact with a supplier and I'm getting one for just 5,500 yuan ($859). Unauthorized Apple retailers are setting their floor price at 8,000 yuan," said Chen, from Jiangsu province.

"I need to have one because I see the potential of its cloud computing service and artificial intelligence application. That's currently a wide open area in China. Simply speaking, other smartphones allow you to access search engines while the 4S's cloud search using Siri - a voice recognition and talking assistant - helps to filter irrelevant results and makes suggestions for you. My work-related curiosity drove me to get one because it is the future for phones."

Jin Jianhan, who works at a Shanghai-based IT company, says he will do whatever it takes to get a 4S because "it's very important to get an Apple product when it's first launched".

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