It's been a long time coming for Hong Kong's tech-heads, and the fact that they started queuing up early on Friday morning shows exactly how excited the city is about the opening of its first official Apple Store.

The leading gadget maker is set to open the doors of its 15,000 square foot outlet at 9am on Saturday morning here but the lure of a free t-shirt to its first 5,000 customers was too much for some to resist and so there they stood, leaned or sat on Friday, waiting for the big moment to arrive.

Apple has chosen the sprawling IFC Mall in Hong Kong Island's Central shopping district for its first store in the city, due first to its location but certainly also due to the fact that the complex attracts hordes of mainland Chinese tourists and the dollars that they bring to spend when visiting the city.

The shop boasts a floor-to-ceiling glass facade with views out over the city's iconic Star Ferry pier and on to Victoria Harbour but it's the goods and the service that will be the main attractions.

Apple says the store's first level will offer MacBooks, iPads, iPhones and iPods, while the second floor will offer a set-up service, hands-on training and a "Genius Bar" for technical support and repair. Apple says the store boasts the largest set-up zone anywhere in Asia.

There have been rumors being passed around Hong Kong that Apple will launch it iPhone 5 in Hong Kong in October - but the company was neither confirming nor denying those rumors this week.

Apple is continuing its push through the Greater China region with its third store in Shanghai opening Friday and the Hong Kong store will make it six for the company in the region, while it has plans in the long run to open 25 outlets. Up until now, Apple's goods have been available through authorized dealers in Hong Kong and, of course, through the backstreet stores (or the "grey market" as it is known) which sell the gadgets illegally.

Although still trailing the likes of local competitor Lenovo in terms of sales in China, Apple has enjoyed considerable growth over the past 12 months with sales of its iPhone alone jumping from 300,000 units sold to more than two million.

To visit Hong Kong's first Apple Store online, go to http://www.apple.com/hk/en/retail/ifcmall/

MS

 

Comments