|Apple Inc will open its third store in Beijing on Saturday in the city's Wangfujing shopping area. The store will be the biggest in Asia. [Photo/China Daily]|
The biggest Apple store in Asia will open on Saturday in Beijing and a new Shenzhen Apple store will soon follow, a senior Apple Inc official said on Thursday.
The new store, the third one in Beijing and eighth in China, will stand in the city's Wangfujing shopping street, a well-known tourist attraction.
The opening signifies that the US-based technology company is placing a greater emphasis on the Chinese market, said Wang Jiping, senior analyst with the US-based IT research company International Data Corp.
John Browett, Apple's senior vice-president of retail, has traveled to China for the opening of the new store. Speaking to Chinese media, he mentioned his first trip to China in 1986. Then a student, he had stood in the same place where the new store was built.
"Who could have believed what's happened in China in 25 years, let alone what's happened with Apple," Browett said.
He said he believes the new outlet is "the best store Apple has built in Asia so far".
The three-level outlet will employ more than 300 people, more than double the number at any of the company's other stores in China.
Apple opened its first outlet in China in 2008, choosing Beijing's Sanlitun area as its location. Since then, the company has opened six more stores in the country, including two in Hong Kong. It has more than 390 in the world.
In 2011, Apple reported $108 billion in sales revenue. About 12 percent of that came from China. The United States, for its part, was the source of about $38 billion, according to the Chinese news portal Sohu.com.
"After Tim Cook became Apple CEO, he began to invest more in the Chinese market than (former CEO) Steve Jobs had invested," Wang said.
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