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The iPhone 6, launched by Apple in 2014, remains a favourite among Chinese consumers

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Not fair to look at Android smartphone brands the same way we did five years ago

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Some things in China have long been treasured as a symbol of social status: flats, cars, luxury brands, and expensive gadgets. While it is not easy for most Chinese to afford a decent home or an expensive car, owning a high-end smartphone C something that can be used on a daily basis C becomes the best option for many, especially the young, as a way to show off their taste.

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That is why Apples iPhone, once the best option in the market without any challenger in terms of performance, was long seen as the smartphone of choice in China.

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It may still be true that the iPhone offers the best features in the market, but it is not fair to look at Android smartphone brands the same way we did five years ago. When we read the product reviews, high-end smartphones from Samsung Electronics could offer the best displays, Huawei has the best cameras, OnePlus has the smoothest system and Xiaomi offers the best prices.

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Apples iPhones are no longer the smartphones that are so good that they have left everyone behind C except in one aspect: pricing.

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To own the latest flagship iPhone, the XS Max, you need to pay a starting price of 9,599 yuan (US$1,382) in China, with other versions costing up to 12,799 yuan. That is basically twice the price of Huaweis Mate 20 and three times the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, which represent the two best and most powerful flagship models released by Chinese brands in recent months, according to reviewers. But is the iPhones double and triple price tag justified by the same proportional increase in better user experience?

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Most consumers would be like me, using their smartphone all the time but mostly for simple operations like voice calls, web surfing, messaging on WeChat, taking snapshots and playing mobile games. For these simple operations, you do not see any difference any more between an expensive iPhone and a more affordable, high-end Android model, especially when all the Android smartphone brands have boosted research and development to make sure their handsets function just as good as an iPhone.

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But why am I paying a large sum for the latest iPhone even though I dont think it is worth the value? Probably because I have been an iPhone user for years and I am not ready to make a complete change.

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That means I am not a rational buyer, and I belong to a group of people Apple is relying on to maintain its high margins. If not, why would I even consider buying it?

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