Apple opens Hong Kong store in China push

Sep 24, 2011 by Peter Brieger
Apple employees (in blue) welcome customers during the opening of the first Apple retail store in Hong Kong, on September 24. Apple opened its first store in the territory, part of its plan to tap into the booming China market, as protesters accused the technology giant of supporting sweatshop labour.

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 is Apple's sixth outlet in China, launching just a day after the doors opened on another new branch in Shanghai.

Apple's second 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 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 in the southern Chinese territory.

A queue of more than a thousand people snaked along an overpass near Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour, with some people waiting from Friday afternoon to be among the first to get in inside the new, HK's first, Apple store that opened Saturday morning, September 24.

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 " Stoer"

Explore further: BofA to refund Apple Pay customers charged twice

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Apple to add stores in booming China market

Sep 06, 2011

Apple plans to open its first store in Hong Kong and another in Shanghai by year's end, a spokeswoman said Tuesday, as the maker of the iconic iPhone sets its sights on the booming China market.

Hong Kong protesters picket Apple supplier meeting

Jun 08, 2010

(AP) -- Protesters picketed Foxconn's annual general meeting in Hong Kong on Tuesday, accusing both the Apple Inc. supplier and computer giant of poor corporate ethics after a spate of suicides at Foxconn ...

Hong Kong labour activists push for iPhone boycott

May 25, 2010

Hong Kong labour activists said Tuesday they plan to kick off a worldwide boycott of Apple's newest iPhone after a spate of suicides at a southern Chinese factory that makes the iconic device.

Recommended for you

Netflix to stream new online TV series, 'Bloodline'

7 minutes ago

Fresh from commercial and critical success with hit shows "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black," Netflix on Thursday announced a new online series, "Bloodline," set for release in March.

Yahoo CEO defends strategy in face of criticism

8 hours ago

Signaling her reign has reached a pivotal juncture, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is trying to convince restless shareholders that the long-struggling Internet company is heading in the right direction.

Sk Hynix logs all-time high Q3 earnings

8 hours ago

SK Hynix, the world's second-largest memory chip maker, reported Thursday a record high quarterly net profit for the three months to September on strong sales and currency earnings.

User comments : 0