Beijing's Palace Museum to release 19,999-yuan mobile phone

The Palace Museum is planning to release a 19,999-RMB (S$4,162) mobile phone in collaboration with a Chinese phone maker. The phone is expected to be available at the end of January 2017, and only 999 units will be sold.

The phone maker posted a message on Weibo on Dec 20, saying it will release a mobile phone with the Palace Museum in celebration of the coming Chinese New Year. The design of the phone is inspired by the Palace Museum's collection, incorporating elements from the Forbidden City such as dragons and auspicious clouds. In addition, the back of the phone is decorated with a traditional Chinese motif made of 18K gold. The phone is equipped with several of the museum's apps, along with a screensaver and wallpaper featuring the 24 solar terms.

The price of the phone has sparked debate among netizens. Some argue that Chinese culture should not be used for profit. Others believe the product will bring vulgarity to the Forbidden City.

Despite the controversy, the executive deputy director of the Palace Museum, Wang Yamin, told the media that he hopes to establish a bridge between traditional Chinese culture and intelligent manufacturing through collaboration with the phone maker.