By Henry Williams.
Apple fans from all over Asia have descended on Hong Kong for the opening of the company’s third store at the Hysan Place mall in Causeway Bay.
Our live coverage from the day can be seen here:
Spread over three floors, the new store has ousted the IFC as the city’s flagship branch. The Hysan Place store has over 20,000 square feet of floor space, 5,000 more than in the IFC – just a 10 minute subway ride away.
Rivalling the beauty of the older store, the new branch is glass from floor to ceiling, with the Apple logo hanging between the second and third floors.
The store is likely to draw huge amount of shoppers, but Apple will need to, as they are likely to be paying upwards of US$50 million per year in rent for the prime location. Reuters reported just a few weeks ago that average retail real estate in Causeway Bay was costing US$2,630 per square foot per year, the highest in the world. Previously, New York’s Fifth Avenue had held that unenviable title.
Apple began selling the iPhone 5 across mainland China yesterday, along with numerous other countries across the world. With decidedly lukewarm interest, shares on the New York Stock Exchange had fallen by 2% in pre-market trading on Friday. Just two people were waiting in line at one store.
The second-biggest market for the company, sales for the fourth-quarter of 2012 in China (which includes Hong Kong) were US$5.7 billion – up over 26% on the same period last year.
Update 1: First in line was J. J. Ng, a 17-year-old from Canada who had been waiting since 7pm on Friday. He was celebrating his birthday by purchasing a new fifth generation iPod Touch:
“I just wanted to be first again, because I was first last time at Festival Walk. And this time it’s more special because it’s also my birthday.
Update 2: Leslie Chew talked to us about why he came to the store: