Consumers who are conscious of their status in Southeast Asian nations like Vietnam where iPhone sales doubled in the most recent quarter are snapping up Apple products in record numbers in an effort to “build a luxury image.” According to Vietnamese office worker Pham My Linh,
This cost more than two months’ worth of my salary. But I need it, to feel more confident when hanging out with friends and colleagues.
In three of Apple’s fastest-growing markets, India, China and Vietnam, the highest per-capita income is China’s $5,720, with India and Vietnam clocking in at just $1,550 each. This means that the $649 unsubsidized cost of a 64-gigabyte iPhone 5C can set buyers back 40% or more of their yearly salaries. For those who are unable or unwilling to purchase an iPhone, Reuters notes that knockoff iPhones that sell for as little as 2 million Vietnamese dong ($95) are an easy substitute. The shop owner Nguyen Duc Hai said the following regarding the matter:
There are a lot of people out there who can't afford an iPhone but still want to look rich, which is why shops like mine can do well. Why pay 10 times more for a real iPhone just to build a luxury image and show off?