Pricy Palace Museum cellphone under fire

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A Palace Museum-themed cellphone has aroused controversy over its exorbitant price, while the official online shop for Palace Museum products has denied any involvement, according to Beijing Youth Daily.

The cellphone has four colors and decorated with dragon pattern.(Photo/China News Service)

The cellphone has four colors and decorated with dragon pattern.(Photo/China News Service)

On Tuesday, a cellphone brand announced via its official Weibo account that it would partner with the Palace Museum to launch a limited edition cellphone on the first day of 2017.

It said there would be only 999 cellphones sold globally, each at 19,999 yuan ($2,878).

Claimed to be inspired by the Palace Museum collection, the cellphone is decorated with the traditional royal dragon pattern in 18k gold on its back, with cloud and wave patterns in calfskin at the top and bottom. There are four colors: black, blue, red and yellow. The screen of the phone is claimed to be covered with sapphire crystal.

Unlike many other Palace Museum-related cultural products that are welcomed as meaningful and useful, the cellphone has been called by many as gaudy and an abuse of the Palace Museum brand.

As part of its cultural business, the Palace Museum runs an official online shop on, selling themed products ranging from calendars, notebooks, phone cases to clothes and ornaments.

Despite the cellphone maker mentioning the online shop in its post, the latter has denied any relation to the product.

Beijing Youth Daily found that there are five companies running relevant businesses selling Palace Museum-themed cultural products, including the alleged partner of the cellphone company.

A staff member there told the reporter that the cellphone is expected to hit the market in the latter half of January 2017, but that the sales channel is still undecided.

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