Apple Retail head Angela Ahrendts has told China’s Xinhua News Agency that Apple is in the midst of a major retail expansion in that country, and will be opening five retail stores there in the next five weeks. Apple looks to capitalize on the festive Chinese New Year shopping season on February 19.
Xinhua, via MacRumors:
“We are opening five new stores before the Chinese New Year this year. Four of the stores are in brand new cities for us,” Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and online stores, told Xinhua in a telephone interview.
Apple has already opened one of the locations, in Zhengzhou, the provincial capital and home to one of Apple’s Foxconn facilities. Apple’s next China opening will be the West Lake Apple Store in Hangzhou, which will open on January 24.
The addition of the five new stores will bring Apple’s total of retail locations in China and Hong Kong to 20. Apple has a goal of 40 stores in the Greater China region over the next several years. Ahrendts told Xinhua is “a huge and important market for every global company today.”
Ahrendts said Apple is hiring in China. The biggest challenge she sees is keeping up with demand while providing the same global customer service standards. She would not say where the other three other stores will be, but Apple’s China website lists store jobs in 15 places, including Anhui, Guizhou, Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Shandong, Shanxi and Tianjin, none of which currently have Apple stores.
China is an important market for Apple, with an ever increasing part of its revenue coming from operations in the country. Apple’s Chinese online store orders increased by more than 80% last year, while a Shanghai Apple Store receives more than 25,000 visitors a day, making it the busiest store in Apple’s global retail operations.