Check out all our coverage of Shanghai’s first Apple Store.
It’s nearly here, Apple fans: Shanghai’s first Apple Store is opening this Saturday, July 10! Shanghaiist got a look inside today to see exactly what Apple has in store for its Chinese consumers.
As we predicted earlier, the new store bears a striking resemblance to the flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York City. Located next to the IFC Mall in Lujiazui Financial District in Pudong, aboveground is a 40-foot high glass cylinder (apparently with the largest curved glass panes in the world), with a descending spiral staircase that leads into the actual underground retail space. Unlike New York though, there is an inexplicably shallow moat of water surrounding the store, tripping up those who don’t watch their step.
In a speech to the press, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail Ron Johnson stated the store design was very much inspired by their building in New York, but also claims it was built so the “stunning architecture” would fit in with the store’s location. Johnson went on to declare their pride at the entryway being designed in California, but produced, constructed, and assembled all here in China. Let’s be honest, that isn’t really that much of a shocker.
Though he refused to discuss iPhone 4 or any other product, Johnson did describe Apple’s intentions and hopes with this Shanghai branch, the company’s second so far in China (Beijing celebrates its two-year anniversary next week). Apple claims to want two more stores in Shanghai and 25 stores total in China by the end of 2012, which sounds pretty ambitious – that’s 23 more stores in the next year and a half. However, Johnson seemed pretty confident in Apple’s chances with Chinese consumers: “We believe that if we build it, they will come.” With this new store in Shanghai, located directly across from the Oriental Pearl Tower (as Johnson kept reminding us) Apple hopes to further build its name and brand in China.
The store itself is 1500 square meters and holds the most goodies in any Apple store the world over – over 250 unique Apple products on display for people to try, including over one hundred Macs. It also boasts one of the largest Genius Bars, taking up the entire length of the back wall. On staff there are over 175 employees to help customers, 75% of whom are native Shanghainese and 80% of whom hold graduate degrees. We noticed that nearly 100% of them are all zealously enthused about helping customers buy Apple – we couldn’t sit at a Mac for more than five seconds before being swarmed by smiling Apple staff.
Apple expects its China stores to be some of the busiest in the world. For the opening on Saturday, they’ll be giving away 5000 commemorative T-shirts designed uniquely for the Shanghai store, as well as offering One-to-One memberships available free with the first 1000 Mac purchases. So get thee there on Saturday, or lose your cred as a Mac nerd.