The gold iPhone: Who says gold is a popular color in China?

August 20, 2013: 7:52 AM ET

Based on the cars the Chinese buy, Apple would be better off exporting a silver iPhone.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 7.46.16 AMFORTUNE -- The rumor that Apple (AAPL) may be making a gold iPhone -- floated last Friday by iMore's Rene Ritchie and picked up by four dozen of the usual suspects -- led some commentators to opine that the color was chosen for the Chinese market, where gold is supposedly an especially popular color.

That was news to me. I'd heard that red is lucky in China, and favored for more than just the flag and Mao's little book of aphorisms.

But I don't have any evidence to back that up. If there is a good study of national color preferences, I haven't been able to find it.

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 7.41.28 AMThe closest thing I could find was a chart of automotive color preferences produced by Dupont in 2011.

Judging by this chart, Chinese consumers show a slight preference for yellow/gold cars compared with the rest of the world (2% vs. 1%), but don't favor them as much as Russians (4%) or, for that matter, North Americans (3%).

If Apple really wanted to cater to Chinese color preferences, according to Dupont, the company would make iPhones in silver, not gold.

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