The biggest scare haunting Apple stock in recent months has been whether the slow at first, then quite sudden collapse in both the Chinese economy, not to mention its burst stock market bubble (which in Chinese propaganda retrospect, is now a great thing), will put the breaks on Chinese purchases of Apple's most important and profitable product - the iPhone. Indeed according to a just released UBS report, while it takes the average New York worker about 24 hours to afford a 16GB iPhone 6, this number rises to 218 hours in Beijing. And the great China's economic slowdown the higher the number will go, and the lower Apple's revenues in the coming quarters.
However, for China's middle class, whose dreams of market bubble riches just went up in a margin call, there is still hope to pretend to be richer than one's neighbor courtesy of a faux rose gold cell phone. The answer: a tablespoon of sperm.
As Xinhua reports, "technophiles may not have to reach far to find the cash for Apple's latest model. According to an advertisement with the Shanghai Sperm Bank - all you have to do is donating."
"No need to sell a kidney...Shanghai sperm bank can make your iPhone 6s dream come true," says the ad which has gone viral on China's most popular social networking app WeChat this week.
Capitalizing on the country's lust for new technology, the sperm bank hopes to fix a shortage in donors ahead of the release of the iPhone 6s next week. Those who qualify to donate can receive up to 6,000 yuan for 17 ml of semen. The latest Apple model is expected to cost around 5,288 yuan.
The morbid jokes just write themselves:
"Why sell your kidney when you can donate sperm? It's a great deed that can bring happiness to a whole family," said microblog Weibo user "Wojiushiwutong".
As a reminder, while "selling kidneys" is usually just a phrase, in China it became all too real in 2011 when a teenager sold one of his kidneys to buy and iPhone and an iPad. "To sell a kidney has become a well-known metaphor for the fever pitch surrounding Apple products."
A sperm bank in central China's Hubei Province posted a similar ad highlighting a picture of the new rose gold iPhone 6s, a color created mainly to attract Chinese consumers. The Shanghai ad is bluntly titled "New Solution to Get iPhone 6s", evoking some criticism that the sperm bank is being insensitive.
"I don't like the idea of making money out of sperm donation to buy new iPhones. Sperm donation is a very serious cause for public good," one Weibo user said. But a spokesperson with the Shanghai sperm bank told Xinhua the campaign has worked well so far, raising awareness and attracting potential donors.
The reason why 17 ml of sperm are so valuable in China is because not only are there thousands of infertile couples in China, but all sperm banks across the country face donation shortages because many young men are unaware or too embarrassed to donate, forcing the banks to turn to social media.
Even if they do find a sufficient pool of potential donors, certain criteria must be met to be eligible. Donors must be between 22 to 45 years old, hold a college degree and have high-quality semen that can survive the rigors of freezing and thawing.Which still keeps the pool of eligible candidates in the tens if not hundreds of millions.
It was not exactly clear how potential female consumers of iPhone are supposed to capitalize on this latest Chinese craze, and while there are countless, and very humorous, places one can take this latest manifestation of capitalism perhaps gone too far, one potential Chinese "channel check" may have appeared: masturbation as a leading indicator of iPhone sales. Because just when sales were starting to turn flaccid, here comes China's sperm-for-iPhones Hail Mary, promising at least several more quarters of firm stock reactions to EPS beats.