(Corrects number of Hong Kong stores in fifth paragraph of story that moved Oct. 18.)
Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) will add two more stores in China as it expands sales outlets for iPhones and MacBooks in the world’s largest market for computers and smartphones.
A new store will open Oct. 20 in Beijing’s Wangfujing area, Apple said in a posting on its Chinese-language website. The company will also unveil a store in the southern city of Shenzhen, the hub where iPhones and iPads are made by Foxconn Technology Group, Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said in a phone interview, citing Apple’s retail chief John Browett as saying. She didn’t announce a timeframe for that outlet.
The expansion comes after Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in March he planned “even greater investment and growth” in China during a visit to the nation. Given the demand for its products, Apple “has the opportunity” to open 400-500 stores in mainland China during the next 15 to 20 years, Brian White, an analyst at Topeka Capital Markets in New York, wrote in an Oct. 14 report after a trip to China.
The Wangfujing store will be the Cupertino, California- based company’s third in the Chinese capital.
Including the new Shenzhen and Beijing locations, as well as three in Shanghai and two in Hong Kong, the company’s nine stores in Greater China are fewer than the 25 that former head of retail Ron Johnson projected in 2010 would be in operation by the end of this year. Johnson is now J.C. Penney Co.’s chief executive officer.
The world’s most-valuable company may also be constructing another store in the western city of Chengdu, White said. Wu declined to comment on additional store openings.
The company’s flagship store in Beijing’s Sanlitun district was pelted with eggs in January when it didn’t open as scheduled for the first day of sales for the iPhone 4S. Demand for the iPhone in China was “staggering,” and the company “didn’t bet high enough,” Cook said Jan. 24.
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