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Calichina Dreaming

Apple, the iPhone, and the Future of the Chinese Economy

 An Apple logo is seen at an Apple store in Pudong, the financial district of Shanghai, China, February 2012.  Carlos Barria / REUTERS

The iPhone 8, expected to be launched on September 12, is already an online media sensation. And with good reason. The release of each new iPhone is a technological shock that has the capacity to reconfigure a large chunk of the global economy. Other new products offer incremental improvements that over time can have a cumulative effect on economic structure. But a new iPhone isn’t so much a new device as a new ecosystem. Each new iPhone opens up technological niches that are then exploited by thousands of other companies, from giants such as Facebook to small developers of all kinds of gadgets and apps.

Its repeat record of industrial renewal has made Apple the most profitable company in the world. It has also created a new economic system that spans the Pacific region, from California in the east to Sichuan in the west and everywhere in between. This system might

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