Apple opens Hong Kong store in China push

Apple threw open the doors to its first store in Hong Kong Saturday, its latest push to tap the booming China market, as protesters accused the technology giant of supporting sweatshop labour.

The minimalist store spread over two floors in one of Hong Kong's most upmarket shopping malls is Apple's sixth outlet in China, launching just a day after the doors opened on another new branch in Shanghai.

Apple's second quarter revenue in greater China - which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan - reached $3.8 billion, a six-fold rise on the same period a year earlier, making the region a key driver of the company's record results.

Die-hard fans in China, which has the world's largest online population with 485 million users, have been known to line up for days to get their hands on the latest Apple products.

A queue of more than a thousand people snaked along an overpass near Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour, with some people waiting since Friday to be among the first inside on Saturday.

Employees handed out free t-shirts, chanted "Apple, Apple" and high-fived shoppers as they made their way up a spiral staircase set against a window showcasing the city's skyline.

"We've waited a long time for Apple to come to Hong Kong," postal worker Tony Cho, 24, told AFP as he checked out a sleek MacBook Air laptop.

"It's a very exciting atmosphere."

Previously, Apple products were available in Hong Kong through registered dealers and online, but the opening Saturday marked the first branded Apple store in the southern Chinese territory.

Some dropped by the mall just to take a picture of the chaotic event, but Trish Peck was among those who waited eagerly to take a peek inside the shopping-mad city's newest retail phenomenon.

"Hong Kong really knows how to tap the consumer slant," she said.

"We haven't quite hit the China consumer level yet. For us, it's about education (for the kids)... but there is a certain cachet with the brand."

About 20 activists from the group Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour protested outside the store, chanting and holdings placards that read "No more iSlave" and "Apple is a sweatshop".

Security staff prevented activists from hanging a protest banner on the overpass where shoppers were queuing, a spokeswoman for the demonstrators told AFP.

The group took aim at the California-based firm over one its key suppliers, Taiwan's Foxconn, which is the world's largest maker of computer components and assembles products for Apple, Sony and Nokia.

Labour rights activists have heaped criticism on Foxconn after more than a dozen employees died in apparent suicides at its plants last year, which critics blamed on tough working conditions.

An Apple spokeswoman could not be immediately reached for comment.

China's craze for all things Apple has led to widespread cloning of iPhones and iPads, and in July an American blogger uncovered fake Apple stores in the southwestern city of Kunming.

The shop was so convincing even the staff - who wore Apple's trademark blue T-shirts with name badges around their necks - thought they worked for the company.

Two other rip-off Apple shops were nearby, one of them sporting a sign reading "Apple Stoer".

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
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

    Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

    £18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own