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Apple to launch second store in Shenzhen as part of China retail expansion

Apple will open its second retail store in Shenzhen next week, more than a decade since its first shop was launched in the southern tech hub, as the US tech giant continues to expand its presence on the mainland amid concerns of a manufacturing supply chain shift out of China.

The new Apple Store, located at upscale shopping centre The MixC in Shenzhen’s Luohu district, will open at 10am on April 28, according to the company’s official website. The first Apple retail store in the city was opened in November 2012 in Nanshan district, home of the Shenzhen Hi-Tech Industrial Park.

This opening will expand the iPhone maker’s network of bricks-and-mortar retail shops in mainland China to 46 locations. It follows the launch of new Apple Stores in Wuhan, capital of central Hubei province, last year and in Changsha, capital of south central Hunan province, in 2021.

Apple’s continued retail push on the mainland, the smartphone industry’s biggest market and home to the largest number of internet users, underscores the company’s efforts to reinforce its commitment to the country, despite rising tensions between Beijing and Washington.

In March, Apple chief executive Tim Cook met China’s new premier Li Qiang and other senior government officials as part of a trip to reaffirm the company’s ties to the mainland amid geopolitical uncertainties.

During his whistle-stop tour of Beijing and Shanghai, Cook went on a charm offensive by visiting video gaming studio miHoYo and meeting various app developers, as well as stopping by the Sanlitun Apple Store, the company’s biggest retail shop in Asia.

The Greater China region, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, contributed US$23.9 billion or 20 per cent to Apple’s global net sales in the three months ended December 31, behind the Americas and Europe, according to the firm’s recent fiscal 2023 first-quarter results.

The world’s most valuable company, with a US$2.63 trillion valuation as of April, also topped smartphone sales in China in the fourth quarter last year. It accounted for 23.7 per cent of sales during the period, representing its highest-ever quarterly share in the market, according to data from Counterpoint Research.

The latest launch in Shenzhen closely follows the opening of Apple’s first retail stores in India this week, with Cook personally greeting customers at the new shops in Mumbai and New Delhi.

Cook’s itinerary in India has been closely watched by Chinese social media amid growing concerns about the US technology giant moving its manufacturing supply chain away from China, following Covid-19-related disruptions last year at the world’s largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, capital of central Henan province.

While 85 per cent of all iPhones are currently assembled in China, Apple’s India-made smartphones were up 65 per cent last year, according to a March report published by research firm Counterpoint. Apple started assembling iPhones in India in 2017 through Taiwanese suppliers Foxconn Technology Group, Wistron Corp and Pegatron Corp. SCMP

Apple sharpened its focus on India with its recent move to reshuffle management of its international businesses, enabling the South Asian nation to become its own sales region at the company, according to a Bloomberg report in March.

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