Apple seeks retail expansion in China

22 October 2012

BEIJING: Apple, the electronics giant, is seeking to expand its retail presence in China, but admits it will take "some time" to achieve a substantial reach in the country via this channel.

The company recently unveiled a new store in the Wangfujing district of Beijing, which employs 300 staff and is its largest outlet in Asia.

John Browett, Apple's senior vice president, retail, revealed that another branch is "just about to open" in Shenzhen, in the south of China, and further sites are planned in the future.

"More stores are coming across China," he added, as reported by Xinhua. "We are looking forward to serving every Chinese customer in every city. But that's going to take us some time."

One key priority for Apple is to have staff on hand to educate consumers buying or owning its products, given their comparative inexperience with gadgets like smartphones and tablets.

"Training in China is very, very popular because this is the first time that people are using these devices," Browett said.

Apple opened its first store in China in 2008, and now has eight in the country, and 390 worldwide. The firm stated last year that its Chinese branches were some of the most profitable globally.

"After Tim Cook became Apple CEO, he began to invest more in the Chinese market than Steve Jobs had invested," Wang Jiping, a senior analyst at IDC, the insights provider, said.

IDC reported that Apple took 69% of the tablet market in mainland China in the second quarter, and 10.4% of the smartphone sector.

"The coming iPhone 5 will certainly boost Apple's sales in China," Wamg added. "For that reason, opening this new store is a good idea, even though it won't have the same effect as the first few Apple stores that were in China."

According to figures from the China Internet Network Information Center, a total of 388m consumers went online from a mobile phone in June 2012, a higher number than from a desktop PC.

Data sourced from Xinhua/China Daily; additional content by Warc staff