updated 10:15 pm EDT, Fri October 19, 2012
Residents, tourists brave cold weather, overnight stays
The Wangfujing Apple Store in Beijing opened on Saturday to large crowds that began gathering the night before, enduring cold weather to be among the first to get into the city's latest, largest and third Apple retail store. The new building includes three storeys (including a basement), Asia's first all-glass staircase and is the largest Apple Store on the continent. The new shop has a strong emphasis on training and features 300 employees, two 360-degree Genius Bars and a spectacular location with a huge LED billboard for signage.
Chinese website M.I.C. Gadget has photos from the evening hours before the store opening, which happened at 9AM on Saturday local time. The Wangfujing store is located in a historic shopping district at the corner of a recently-renovated mall. It was previewed on Thursday by Apple SVP of Retail John Browett, who told reporters that the company will be opening another store in the city of Shenzhen soon, as well as other stores in China.
The opening of the Wangfujing store brings the company's total number of stores in China to six, with a combined workforce of 800. Beijing itself has two other stores, including China's first-ever Apple retail store in the Salitun area, and another in the Xidan district. The new store is only a few miles from either of the other two, and will likely see another long lineup in the near future when the iPhone 5 finally arrives in China for sale. [images via M.I.C. Gadget]