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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
News
Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
newsMeet the enthusiasts determined to stop them dying out
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross. Argyll, has remained derelict for more than 25 years
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Opilio Recruitment: Senior Developer

    £50k - 60k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We have an exciting Seni...

    Opilio Recruitment: Senior Front End Developer

    £50k - 70k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We have an exciting Seni...

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Senior Sales Executive - SaaS/ Cyber Security - £60,000

    £32000 - £34000 per annum + Uncapped OTE £65,000 : h2 Recruit Ltd: Looking for...

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Executive - Software-as-a-Service/ SaaS - £42,000

    £28000 - £31000 per annum + Bonus + Progression: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you looki...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game