Schoolboy Moves Bricks for 8 Days to Repay Apple iPhone Debt

A young Chinese boy carrying bricks.

A young Chinese boy carrying bricks.

From NetEase:

University Student Moves Bricks at Construction Site for 8 Days to Repay Apple iPhone Loan

Yang Fan (pseudonym) is an art major student at a general university in the city [Chongqing]. Under a relatively good financial situation in his family, he applied for a credit card when he was a freshman. He said, “We need to buy paints and go out to do drawings. These all cost a lot of money. Plus I spend money loosely, so I applied for a credit card from the bank.”

Last year, Yang Fan bought an iPhone 4 with credit card financing. “The first bill only asked for 667 yuan (including a processing fee of 250 yuan), and the remaining 11 installments would be 417 yuan per month. At the time, the iPhone’s price had already dropped, so the total installments were about 1000 yuan more than the actual retail price, but there was nothing I could do either, because I couldn’t pay that much money all at once,” said Yang Fan.

Yang Fan spoke frankly, that though he only has to pay back 400 yuan each month, due to his inability to control his spending, he often would borrow money. “Without a choice, I could only go to a construction site to help move bricks, where I could get a 100 yuan per day. Whenever I was short on money in a month, I’d go to the construction site and carry bricks for a few days. I don’t work more than I have to, just enough to pay back the credit card debt. Each time, I’d work 4 days, and I ultimately did it twice, so a total of 8 days.”

Apple iPhone 4, white and black side-by-side.

Yang Fan told this Chongqing Morning News reporter that moving brinks was something he did because he had no other alternatives. “If I had the option, I would rather give up this iPhone 4. Moving bricks in the construction yard is not your ordinary exhausting, and I had blisters all over my hands those few days, extremely painful.” This is not the lone case of college students spending on credit. Chongqing Industrial and Commercial University senior student Xiao Cao said, based on what she knows, there are two classmates using credit card financing to buy cell phones and laptops.

According to the news lately, the Wuhan Jiexin Company, which specializes in providing small consumer loan financial services in Wuhan, has stated that in the past year, it has provided loans to more than 20,000 Wuhan college students. These student loans are mainly used to purchase Apple branded cell phones, laptops and other electronics. According to reports, a loan company’s highest annual percentage interest rate exceeds 40 percent. Are these kinds of low-barrier, high-interest businesses creating new services or consumption traps? If the students default, then who’s left with paying the bill…? In fact, there are quite a few college students buying iPhones with loans, with some students blindly getting loans just to look good, while “suffering unbearably” when it comes time to repay.

Experts: Debts fall on the parents; not worth it

During the interview, many small loan companies in Chongqing said they don’t have services targeting college students. A customer manager from one of them spoke directly, “college students don’t have any ability to repay the loans at all.”

With regards to university students using installment payments to buy iPhones, Blue Ocean Financing Guarantee Co., Ltd Creative Investment Department CEO Assistant Wei Xulong believes that some media reports are a little exaggerated. In reality, as long as the loan amount is 10,000 yuan and under, most students can use a variety of ways to repay the debt, without causing too much harm. As for the small loan companies, as long as the loans reaches a certain level/scope, there wouldn’t be too much risk either. However, he emphasized, “I think college students should minimize taking on loans for purchasing things. If it is a loan for entrepreneurship, banks have plenty of favorable policies, whereas consumer loans can become a considerable burden for college students who do not have much income. In the end, these reckless debts will fall on their parents, and if that happens, then it’s not worth it.

A young Chinese man in a construction hat with cinderblocks in the background.

Comments on NetEase:


Actually this college student’s choice to go move bricks on a construction site is pretty good. This is a vivid lesson to learn about the society, to understand society. If he has the chance, he should go to certain government organizations and learn more, as it would be even more helpful in understanding society, learning about society, also further hardening the desire and determination to emigrate.


Isn’t this a very good thing, repaying your debts, and repaying it with what you earn through your own labor?

That’s being a man about it.


Moving bricks is better than selling kidneys, right?


All the diaosi, wake up… The foreman is calling you to move bricks….


Not stealing, robbing or cutting out kidneys is already very good. And [the college student] even thinks of a way to repay his debt. At the very least making money with his own abilities. From an extreme perspective, being able to survive in this world is itself an ability. Years later, there may be a batch of “elites” squeezed out from the market to make up for those bricks that have been moved away. The key is those who build the buildings never pay attention to who moves the bricks. Even more importantly, many people are waiting in line to move the bricks…


So vain, would not using an Apple kill you?

网易浙江省杭州市网友 [zhugebin770322] : (in response to the above)

Post-90s generation are brain damaged, rubbish, worthless. Wouldn’t take one even if you paid me.

网易浙江省嘉兴市网友: (in response to the above)

Can a young person who hasn’t made a few mistakes still be called “a young person”? Or are they thousand-year-old creatures time traveled right after being born in this world? The important point is that he didn’t cross the line, sell a kidney, steal or rob, ultimately doing honest work to repay the money, earning money with his labor, and at the same time also learning the value of money, and also regretting his own extravagance. Isn’t this a very good thing? Isn’t this actually a positive example? A prodigal son who returns home is more precious than gold. Is this age-old proverb passed down by our ancestors not right?

网易湖南省手机网友: (in response to the above)

Fourth floor [referring to above commenter], well said.

网易广东省东莞市网友 [三愣子]: (in response to the above)

Well said your ass. What return of a prodigal son? Is buying an Apple product a crime? In this world, many things we want are not easy to obtain, so for those that can be obtained, one should do everything they can to get them, what’s wrong with this?!

网易广东省深圳市网友 [天香引]: (in response to the above)

Earning through one’s labor is so degraded by you guys. Actually, we should pay attention to why one has to move so many days of bricks to be able to buy one mobile phone? Who are we carrying those bricks for?

网易浙江省杭州市网友 [愤怒的八零后] : (in response to the above)

Buying an Apple nowadays no longer allows you to zhuangbi. To zhuangbi now requires driving a convertible BMW Z4, SL350 or better.

网易浙江省嘉兴市网友: (in response to the above 三愣子)

Was I wrong in saying a prodigal son’s return? Is it you guys using an Apple product to show off, or was it me using an Apple product to show off? Apple is just a cell phone, and what more, the price isn’t cheap. There are 200 yuan cell phones, there are also 2000 yuan cell phones, and probably even 20,000 yuan ones. As an individual, one should buy something that is suitable to one’s financial abilities. This young guy bought a cell phone that exceeds his financial abilities, and therefore he paid the price of moving bricks to repay his debt. I would ask is there anything here that has to do with Apple? If we change the Apple iPhone to an extremely expensive watch, extremely expensive cigarettes, wouldn’t it still be the same? A prodigal son returning is not saying it’s criminal to buy an Apple phone, but about the behavior of buying something beyond one’s (financial) abilities.

A Chinese man carrying bricks.


Written by Cecilia Miao


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