Monday, August 20, 2012

iPhone 5 (ice cream) already a smash hit in China

While Apple fans in the U.S. continue to wait for the iPhone 5 launch event, which is rumored to be Sept. 12, fans in China already have gotten their hands on the iPhone 5, and they love it. In Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, the iPhone 5 - as ice cream - is a hit.

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The ice cream is a bestselling product. Gao Yuxin, head of the marketing center of Deshi Group, the producer of the ice cream, spoke to China Daily about the confection on Friday; the ice cream first went on sale in April, a long time before most of the iPhone 5 rumors even began.

Since then, however, the creamy treat has become the blockbuster smash that the real iPhone 5 will undoubtedly become.

"The target customers of iPhone and our ice cream are the same - young people who are stylish and fashionable. So we want to make use of iPhone's big influence to attract more customers."

Shopowners are just as happy with the ice cream as the manufacturer is. Zhou Duo, owner of a small shop in Shenyang said, "I can sell about 50 Apple ice creams per day, while only selling about 10 of other brands. Most of the buyers are young people."

To be clear, the ice cream itself is shaped like an Apple logo, right down to the missing bite. The wrapper is the iPhone-ish part of the product design; it has a smartphone printed on it, and the words "iPhone 5."

Notably, in China there are 45 trademark classes that "iPhone" could be trademarked in. Apple has only registered the term in 27 of them. The rest of the categories have had trademarks registered by Chinese companies.

Jiang Di, a lawyer, told China Daily that "Deshi can use the trademark because it is used in a different sector that Apple Inc. didn't register."

At the same time, though, Jiang added, "Although this kind of registration is not illegal, it should not be encouraged. It will add a burden to trademark management and harm the development of domestic brands.

"The authority should revise the Trademark Law to prevent such behavior. It's better for domestic companies to learn from Apple's technology and marketing strategy rather than using its brand to advertise."

Deshi filed an application to register the trademark "iPhone 5" to the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce last year; they are still waiting for the approval.

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