Berry jelly: wobbly trademarks in Indonesia’s phone market

Blackjelly banner Tahuna, in the Sangihe islands off northeast Sulawesi

Indonesia is mobile-phone mad. People who live in villages with no phone coverage and no electricity all have mobile phones “in case I go to town”. Motorbike taxis drivers, fishermen, primary school kids, trash-pickers — all have mobile phones. I regularly get e-mails from sex workers “sent from my Blackberry”. Indeed in the realm of smartphones, Blackberry is king, with 42% market share. In fact Blackberries are so popular that a couple of months ago a scrum for discounts on a new model left 90 people unconscious and a couple with broken legs. But, at around US$500, plenty of people can’t afford the real thing. And since trademark piracy is second only to tax evasion as a national sport both here and in China, where most cheap knock-offs are made, there are plenty of next-bests. Above, my favourite so far, spotted in Tahuna, in the Sangihe islands off northeast Sulawesi and available for around US$ 30.


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