Shanghai Apple Store prepares to open

Shanghai Apple Store prepares to open

There's already a line, and there's already some corporate mudslinging from Chinese-based competitor Lenovo
Shanghai apple store
The Beijing Apple Store gets some competition now that the curtain's off the Shanghai store -- soon to be the largest in China -- opening July 10.
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We’ve talked about the fabled Shanghai Apple store (Apple’s 295th store) opening before (here and here), and the day has finally come. Well, almost. The curtain has come off and the Shanghai Apple Store will open this Saturday, July 10 at 10 a.m. adjacent to Shanghai International Financial Center in Pudong.

For those who looked at the glass structure and thought, “That’s it?”, fear not -- the 40 foot-tall glass cylinder is only the entrance to the store, which is located underneath. 

Apple report  the Shanghai Apple Store will have 80 Macs, 100 iPods and 60 iPhones on offer for customers to play with, as well as the customary Genius Bar and China's first Briefing Room for free business workshops. Sadly, no iPhone 4s will be on display (yet).

Although the new store gives us a good reason to cross the river, for those who’d still rather not, the second Shanghai Apple Store is under construction in Hong Kong Plaza and is rumored to be opening later this summer.

According to an Apple representative, a handful of people began lining up at the store last night to ensure their places at the front of the queue for Saturday's opening. And to ensure they will be the proud owners of a free t-shirt Apple will hand out to the first 5,000 customers.

Lenovo versus Apple

The Shanghai Apple Store isn't the only thing putting Apple in the Chinese news recently. A few days prior to Apple's formal store opening announcement, Lenovo chairman and founder, Liu Chuanzhi told the Financial Times that his company would be in trouble if Apple actually cared about the Chinese market.

“We are lucky that Steve Jobs has such a bad temper and doesn’t care about China. If Apple were to spend the same effort on the Chinese consumer as we do, we would be in trouble.”

Liu followed that comment saying that he believed China would eventually “replace the United States as a global trend setter in technology as a take-off in Chinese domestic consumption would force.”

Bear in mind Lenovo is a Chinese company and China’s largest PC manufacturer with approximately 30 percent market share.

Although Apple declined to comment directly on Liu’s remarks, Ron Johnson, Apple’s senior vice president of retail said in a press release issued by the company today that, “The Apple Store Pudong will be the ultimate place for the people of Shanghai to shop, learn and be inspired. We're thrilled to open the first of many new stores in China in this incredible location."

It seems that Apple opening its second and third China retail stores in quick succession -- with a total of 25 to open across China by 2012 -- is the company's best response. According to the FT, Apple executives also said in April, that "they saw the Chinese market as a major growth opportunity."

Lenovo versus Apple -- it looks like it's game on.

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