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Chinese buy paper iPads for ancestor worship

/ 03:34 PM March 28, 2012

BEIJING – Paper replicas of Apple’s iPad and iPhone are selling like hot cakes in China this year as millions prepare to honor their ancestors in an age-old annual festival that has taken on a modern twist.

Tomb Sweeping Day, which falls on April 4 this year, sees families remember their ancestors by laying out food at their grave sites and burning paper replicas of daily necessities such as clothes, money, cars and houses.

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The tradition — which dates back thousands of years — dictates that the paper goods can be used by their ancestors in the afterlife, and the offerings have evolved to fit in with modern life.

As such, paper replicas of iPhones and iPads — which are hugely popular in China — have become all the rage.

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“The paper iPhones and iPads sold are the same size as the real ones with a whole complete package of components like headphones,” an online retailer known by his surname, Tang, told AFP.

“I have run this online shop for four years, and started to sell paper iPhones and iPads two years ago.

“These… are quite popular. Many people ask about them especially when Tomb Sweeping Day is approaching.”

Another online retailer, who did not want to be named, also told AFP there has been an increase in orders for iPhone paper replicas ahead of the festival next week.

Retailers said a paper iPad sells for 538 yuan ($85) including delivery while an iPhone version costs around 22 yuan.

Apple products are extremely popular in China where people queue for hours to get their hands on the latest devices.

Tomb Sweeping day — or Qing Ming — is also widely celebrated by ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia, where most of them consider it an important occasion to pay respect to their ancestors.

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