New SVP of Retail and former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts said Apple’s retail presence in China is going to expand from 15 to 40 stores within two years.
And one of the new stores is opening this Sunday in Chongqing, a major metropolis in Southwest China and one of the five national central cities in the 1.33 billion people country.
Scheduled to open at 10am local time on Sunday, January 31, the store is officially called Jiefangbei. It’s even more gorgeous than the Pudong store in Shanghai and marks Apple’s second flagship outlet that uses its patented cylindrical glass entrance design.
Apple posted a video posted to its Chinese retail website ahead of grand opening. In it, the firm details a collaboration between China-based artist Yangyang Pan and US-based photographer and engineer Navid Baraty who joined forces to create a breathtaking mural art for the store.
Working from a set of cityscape photos taken by Baraty, Pan painted different themed patterns that adorn the mural which covers the entire store (she actually painted over the photo prints).
By the way, Apple’s first store in Chongqing opened last July. A third store is under construction at the MixC shopping center.
“This works not only convey the worth of Chongqing is a wonderful gathering of the city, also means that the new Apple Store retail world will be a fusion of art, culture, creativity and technology in one,” says Apple on its Chinese retail website, courtesy of Google Translate.
To stream the companion video, just follow this link and tap on the play icon on the webpage. We’ll update the post with an embeddable YouTube version as soon as it gets posted online.
Update Jan 30, 2015: Apple uploaded the video to its YouTube channel:
Standing some 30 feet high, the Chongqing store features the glass cylinder construction based on a high-profile design Apple earned a patent for, with Steve Jobs listed among its inventors.
Of course, the above-ground cylinder is just a landmark as the store itself is located underground, just like Apple’s flagship outlets in New York, Shanghai and Istanbul.
Speaking of murals, Apple recently treated us to a clip featuring calligrapher Wang Dongling who created a mural for Apple’s first retail store in Hangzhou, the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China Zhengzhou.
According to blogger Mark Gurman, Apple’s Ahrendts has been recruiting retail employees from US stores to relocate to China in order to help build up Apple’s retail efforts in the region. In a note sent to employees a few days ago, Ahrendts said about 200 US retail employees are interested to make the move.
As she noted, her offer “has no expiration date because as the business grows, our needs will only become greater, so as your personal and professional life changes, just always keep China at the top of your mind, because we’re going to need you.”
She confirmed earlier that five new stores are opening in China by February 19 in advance of the Chinese New Year, marking 20 stores in the country. Her boss, CEO Tim Cook, promised that Apple will aggressively expand its retail presence in China by reaching a total of 40 stores within two years.
The Online Apple Store is already Apple’s fastest growing store in China, and now the country is expected to overtake the United States in iPhone sales when it reports its fiscal 2015 first quarter earnings tomorrow.
Source: Apple China