Foreign Policy's Christina Larson has an analysis out about Apple's immense success in cracking the Chinese market. After noting the possible conflict between Chinese government desires and some of Apple's old U.S. ad campaigns that featured rebels like the Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King Jr, Larson explains:
The result is that Apple's image in China now emphasizes not rebellion, but luxury -- or as Wolf puts it, "exclusivity." Its gorgeous glass-walled stores are located next to high-end clothing boutiques like Armani, Versace, and BMW Lifestyle. Apple is seen as the choice of "top white-collar professionals," as stylish 30-something Lily Ou told me, glancing up from a row of brightly colored iPhone cases at Beijing's Sanlitun Apple Store. Ou is a sales manager for an international food distributor. "I like to show off my Apple identity," she said.
-Foreign Policy, August 1, 2011
Funny thing is, though, those Dalai Lama ads are long gone in the United States, too. Today's Apple branding is pretty much just a North American version of exclusivity and luxury. "Think different" is out.