Cell phone armor bedazzles China's women

By Satarupa Bhattacharjya ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-06-06 06:59:01

Cell phone armor bedazzles China's women
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Cell phone armor bedazzles China's women

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My Chinese friend, Liu Xiao, a housewife in her early 40s, and a fellow subway rider, tells me that armor-clad phones aren't flaky fashion statements. "It's creative expression," she says.

The most popular cell phone cover that I have noticed so far is the one lined with stones that shine like diamonds.

In my experience, however, I have found them to be often chunky and capable of threatening the physical safety of the owner and people around her. Imagine how you will feel when the pointed beak of a blue crystal peacock brushes past your skin as you try to squeeze into a packed rush-hour coach.

Crystals bring me to the subject of face masks. Thanks to the smog in China, manufacturers of face masks have already turned it into a multimillion dollar industry. I wonder if companies such as Swarovski ever think of partnering with local businesses to produce diamond-studded face masks.

The bizarre thought aside, I understand that women are fond of gem stones and that John Keats probably would have written an ode to the cell phone case had he been alive to witness China's subway glitter. However, I find it hard to view phone accessory as a thing of beauty.

Last autumn, at an airport in the southern city of Guangzhou, a phone hub, I saw a woman's acrylic nail plucked out of her finger as she struggled with her luggage. The culprit wasn't the suitcase, but a sparkling rabbit on her cell phone case, in her hand.

My foreign friends call me a cynic and accuse me of picking holes in a digital trend on which cell phone companies are spending billions of yuan.

China is leading global mobile subscriptions with about 1.24 billion users, according to the Xinhua News Agency. International Telecommunication Union, a Geneva-based United Nations agency, estimates nearly 7 billion customers worldwide by the end of 2014.


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