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iPhone users are part of the 'invisible poor' in China, report says

That means you can’t tell their financial situation based on how they look.

Zoey Chong Reporter
Zoey is CNET's Asia News Reporter based in Singapore. She prefers variety to monotony and owns an Android mobile device, a Windows PC and Apple's MacBook Pro all at the same time. Outside of the office, she can be found binging on Korean variety shows, if not chilling out with a book at a café recommended by a friend.
Zoey Chong
2 min read
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iPhone users are typically unmarried women earning less than 3,000 yuan every month, says a new report.

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There have been complaints about the rising costs of iPhones , but a report in China suggests that  Apple users typically earn less and are less educated than people who use other phones

iPhone users typically bring home less than 3,000 yuan (about $433) every month, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday, citing a new study by Shanghai-based research agency MobData. It revealed a class divide among phone users, including gender, age, qualifications, wage and apps popular among them. Some details of the report are unclear, however, including the number of people who participated in the study.

The study showed many iPhone users in China are seen as the "invisible poor," a group of people whose appearances don't reflect their finances. They also tend to be unmarried women aged between 18 and 34 with high school qualifications, and are more likely to use the photo app Meitu, according to the study. This isn't as unusual as it may seem as many of these iPhone users have older models, with 64.3 percent of them using an iPhone 6, 6S, 6S Plus, 7 or 7 Plus.

By comparison, those who use a Huawei phone are usually more affluent, getting paid between 5,000 to 20,000 yuan (about $721 to $2,886) each month. They are also typically "high-end businessmen" who are male and married, between the ages of 25 and 34 and armed with a diploma or bachelor's degree. Many of them also own properties and cars, unlike iPhone users, and enjoy playing PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. They are also more varied in their choice of a Huawei phone model.

Watch this: CNET UK Podcast 546: The iPhone verdict and Huawei's awesome new kit

The study comes as a shock to many people on China's Twitter-like service Weibo. Users called it "nonsense" and questioned the credibility of the study. Some of the latest iPhone models cost more than a month's pay for the "invisible poor" while budget Huawei phones wouldn't cost more than half their wage. A handful of users agree with the report's findings, with some observing that many of their friends with iPhones are women.

The internet also tried to come up with reasons for this phenomenon. Someone mocked the durability of Huawei phones, suggesting that with lower income one would want to buy a phone that can last longer, hence choosing an iPhone. Another suggested people with lower wages are more willing to splurge on an iPhone because they don't have to worry about loans and mortgages for their houses and cars.

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