updated 04:16 am EST, Wed January 8, 2014
Third-party storefront only sells new items, will participate in 'Red Friday'
Further expanding its reach in China, Apple has formally launched an unusual second online storefront in China. The new online site is part of "Tmall," a virtual mall with thousands of official retail outlets for various brands. Apple will continue to operate its own apple.cn website, but is evidently willing to go where the customers are in an effort to sell new products, particularly iPhones, to Chinese customers. Millions of Chinese users use the Tmall concept as a one-stop site for online shopping.
The Tmall Apple store will also be participating in the Lunar New Year celebration sales event known as "Red Friday" along with many other retailers on Friday, January 10. The actual Lunar New Year is on January 31, but merchants take advantage of better timing to run sales, slightly akin to North America's "Black Friday" sales events, which occur near Thanksgiving.
Apple has not said what it plans to discount, and may experiment with gift cards to reward purchases rather than straight discounts, as it did for the US, Australia and Canada on Black Friday.