updated 11:15 pm EDT, Tue September 20, 2011
Apple shows Hong Kong IFC store early
Apple on Wednesday took the covers from its Hong Kong flagship store a few days ahead of its September 24 opening. Early shots of the inside supplied to 9to5 have shown one of Apple's most elaborate arrangements to date, with the second floor mostly bisected by the signature glass spiral staircase and elevator. Both the outside and the top inside of the store are plated in glass with just the bottom mostly sealed up by steel, wide doorways, and ads.
The location, in the IFC Center at the heart of the city, isn't Apple's largest but is potentially one of its most expensive to run, operating out of one of the most expensive retail properties in the world. As the first Hong Kong store, however, it promises to be crucial for Apple by catering to the heart of one of its fastest growing regions. Southeast Asian revenue has grown six times larger in the past year for Apple, and Hong Kong's growing wealth among its richer citizens is only expected to help.
A retail appearance coincides with the availability of the 3G iPad 2 in China and is arriving a few weeks before the expected launch of the iPhone 5 in at least some countries. Along with satisfying a city that frequently turns to the gray market, the store could help dampen the effect of Android in the area as local firms like Huawei and ZTE try to scoop up the low end smartphone space.
Talk has surfaced even before the opening of the IFC store of a larger second store, at Hysan Place, opening sometime in 2012.