The Chinese version of the online Apple store has added the ability to pay for products in installments
, reports note
. An order must cost between 300 yuan ($48) and 30,000 yuan ($4,800), and buyers must have a China Merchants Bank credit card. Through January 23rd, three- to 12-month installment purchases are interest-free. An 18-month payment carries 6.5 percent interest, while going up to 24 months raises the interest rate to 8.5 percent.
The setup is likely a way of coping with the fact that many Apple products are too expensive for the average Chinese worker. A 16GB iPhone 5 costs 5,288 yuan ($850), or more than the average worker's monthly pay. A Mac can often be completely out of range, since even the Mac mini starts at 4,488 yuan ($722) without a monitor.