updated 11:40 am EST, Fri February 18, 2011
Chinese stores seeing 40,000 people per day
A third Shanghai Apple Store will be biggest the company has built in China to date, an Apple spokeswoman says. The outlet is planned for the city's central Nanjing Road, and will become Apple's fifth in China. Senior retail VP Ron Johnson explains that the shop's size is needed to cope with intense traffic, as Chinese Apple Stores are visited by over 40,000 people per day. That level is roughly four times the American average.
Apple's Chinese chain occupies a unique position, however. Only a handful of stores, split between Shanghai and Beijing, are present in a country of over 1.3 billion people. They have also been plagued by scalpers, who snatch up products for gray-market vendors imposing markups. In part because of scalpers, it can potentially take weeks or months to buy an iPhone 4 through official channels.
Johnson notes that while Apple had been hoping to open 25 Chinese stores this year, the schedule may be held back by the decision to concentrate on larger spaces. The company will likely need them, as efforts are believed to be moving forward on a China Telecom iPhone deal.