Apple launches online store in China

Apple on Wednesday launched online sales in China and made its App Store available in simplified Chinese, as the US technology giant expands aggressively in the world's largest mobile market.

The firm opened two new retail shops in mainland China last month as it launched the iPhone 4. It now has two shops in Beijing and two more in Shanghai, with a total of 25 outlets expected by the end of next year.

The company's coveted products, from the iPod to the iPad tablet computer, are also available from a number of authorised resellers in major cities - and widely in China's unofficial "grey" market.

Analysts said the introduction of new, easier ways for customers to access products showed that the China market has become increasingly important to the California-based company.

"We are thrilled to open our newest online store in China," Apple's chief operating officer Tim Cook said in a statement.

"With personalised engraving, configure-to-order options and free shipping on everything, the Apple Store is a great destination for our customers in China."

The launch of the App Store in simplified Chinese comes after Chinese users had complained that it was difficult to access content due to a lack of display in the local language.

Many users previously turned to websites that allow users to install pirated Chinese-language Apple-compatible software applications for free.

The Chinese-language App Store will offer customers access to more than 300,000 applications as well as "localised featured apps and charts of the most popular paid and free apps in China", the company said.

Analysts said the move signalled Apple's seriousness about penetrating the world's largest Internet and cell phone market.

"The growth pace of China's smartphone market, Chinese users' passion for Apple products and the great potential of the country's smartphone and mobile Internet devices market" had all boosted the firm's confidence, Wang Liusheng, an analyst with research firm Analysys International, told AFP.

The Chinese-language App Store will convince more customers to use authorised software and in turn support Apple's potential expansion in online advertising - a major growth spot, said Zhang Yanan with consultancy Zero2IPO.

"I think Apple has a long-term ambition for (online) advertising... and user base will be key," Zhang said.

She cautioned however that although the two new moves would certainly help sales, it would take time for the company to see significant results.

"It will alleviate the problem" of Apple's limited distribution network in China, which was reflected by the long queues and sporadic scuffles at the in-country debuts last month of the iPad and the iPhone 4, Zhang said.

"But it takes time for the business-to-consumer websites like the Apple online store to become influential" among potential customers, she said.

The iPhone 4 made its debut in China on September 25, only a week after Apple officially launched the iPad in the country, with some customers queuing for several days to get their hands on the computer.

China has at least 420 million web users and is also the world's largest mobile market with more than 833 million subscribers at the end of September, according to official data.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer - 2nd & 3rd Line

    £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The IT Support Engineer is needed to ass...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior / Mid Software Developer

    £22000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Service Desk Manager

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity to join a p...

    Recruitment Genius: Graphic and Motion Designer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Do you get a buzz from thinking up new ideas a...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea