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Mutton to see here: Chinese dealer offers fondleslabs for sheep

‘Ba-ba black sheep have you any iPhone 5s?’

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A Chinese computer dealer in the sprawling Xinjiang province is looking to spur interest in his stock of electronic gadgets by offering to accept sheep as payment.

Budding entrepreneur Huang Jie is running the promotion to give the yokels of rural Kashgar in the Uygur autonomous region a better understanding of the price of such goods.

"The demand for computers in the villages is very high. Some children even carve keyboards on their desks," the 29-year-old told the China Daily.

"Many believe computers are very expensive, I want to show them that electronic products are actually quite affordable by comparing their values with their most familiar commodity — sheep.”

A promotional flyer Huang is distributing shows the number of sheep required to buy a smartphone (one), tablet (two) and desktop (three). What appears to be a Lenovo notebook, meanwhile, would cost a shepherd four of their flock.

"I often found people selling their sheep for less than market value because the villages are far from the city,” Huang continued.

“But they can trade their sheep with me, and I help them sell the sheep at a fair price. I will return the money to them if it's more than the price of the product they purchased.”

Sadly, Huang seems not to havemade a sale yet – perhaps it has something to do with the fact that most of this vast area of north-western China is unwired.

An Akamai report on internet speeds last year also put the region in the bottom three in China with an average of under 1.5Mbps.

The local, predominantly Uyghur, population has also been subject to state-imposed internet outages following outbreaks of unrest – most notably in 2009-10 when a 10 month black-out followed bloody ethnic rioting in the region. ®

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