updated 01:17 am EDT, Fri October 19, 2012
Next store in China will be in Shenzhen
On Thursday in Beijing, Apple Retail chief John Browett led a coterie of reporters and photographers on a tour of the latest Apple Store in China, set to open Saturday in the city's Wangfujing shopping street. The new store is the largest in "best" store in Asia, according to Browett, covering three floors and a eye-popping corner location with a giant LED screen to display Apple signage. He also revealed that another store will be opening in the city of Shenzhen in the very near future, and said that the company is planning more China stores.
Browett noted that he had stood on the very corner where the store now stands more than 25 years ago during his first visit to China, according to local media sites. The Wangfujing store will bring the company's total in China to six, and Browett added that the store will employ some 300 people, bringing total Apple employment in Beijing to 800. The city has two other stores, in the Sanlitun and Xidan areas.
The Wangfujing area, similar to a "high street" of name-brand retailers, has been a shopping destination for over 800 years, and is a major tourist and local retail district that is currently undergoing major renovations and expansion. It is about a mile away from the historic Forbidden City as well as Tiananmen Square, and features a wide curved two-storey glass entrance and is the first in Asia to feature Apple's signature glass staircase. It is located about two miles east of the Xidan store and 3.5 miles southwest of the first China Apple Store in Salitun.
"Who could have believed what [has] happened in China in 25 years, let alone what's happened to Apple," Browett said of the changes since his first visit to the country. He further reiterated that Apple was deeply committed to China and saw it as a developing market integral to its continued growth. The new store occupies two storeys on and above street level, and features two 360-degree Genius Bars. Browett noted that the store has training areas on both the second floor and basement, saying the One to One personal training the company offers has been particularly popular in China, since most Chinese residents are experiencing Apple products for the first time.
Classes are scheduled to start on the second official day, and will include topics such as the iPhone 4S, the iPad, the iTunes-iPod connection, iPhoto for Mac, the Mac lineup and the App Store. The iPhone 5 has not yet arrived in China officially, despite being cleared to be sold in the country. [Some images via The Beijinger]