updated 03:25 pm EDT, Mon June 14, 2010
May be significant aid to Apple's sales
A Taiwanese firm, Cheng Uei, is planning to engage in a substantial expansion of its Apple reselling chain into China, according to Bloomberg. The company is primarily a component manufacturer, and in fact supplies parts for the iPhone amongst other devices. It also runs 20 Studio A reselling stores in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and says that over the course of the next three years, it intends to found 100 more stores, including ones in mainland China.
The expansion may potentially be of great help to Apple, which only has one store of its own in the country. There are other Apple resellers in China; one future party should include Hon Hai, best known as the parent company of Foxconn. The latter has become infamous in recent months for harsh factory conditions, allegedly the trigger for a string of suicides. The company is rumored to be planning to move factories outside of China, possibly as a way of avoiding labor issues.
In spite of the size of the country, China has not generated much profit for Apple. Asia (excluding Japan) provided less than 8 percent of the company's revenue during 2009, and Apple ranks sixth in a list of Chinese computer vendors behind the likes of Lenovo and HP. A greater retail footprint could prove useful, given an IDC forecast that Chinese computer sales will grow 18 percent annually for the next five years. By 2013, the country may be the largest computer market on Earth.