Apple to grow retail stores in China from 15 to 40 within two years, says Cook

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Tim Cook noted during Monday’s earnings call that Apple was “investing like crazy” in China, but he took the opportunity of his current visit to the country to put a specific number on the company’s retail expansion plans: it will open 25 new Apple Stores in Greater China within the next two years. Greater China includes both Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Speaking to local media, Cook also said that China would in time become Apple’s biggest market, reports the WSJ …  Read more

Tim Cook meets with Chinese vice premier in Beijing following iCloud phishing attack

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Two days after evidence emerged of a phishing attack on iCloud, allegedly due to the Chinese government firewall redirecting traffic to a fake login page, the Chinese state news agency Xinhuanet is reporting a meeting in Beijing between Tim Cook and Chinese vice premier Ma Kai.

Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai and Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday exchanged views on protection of users’ information during their meeting in Zhongnanhai, the central authority’s seat. They also exchanged views on strengthening cooperation in information and communication fields.

The Chinese government censors access to the Internet by deploying a country-wide firewall which blocks certain sites and which can redirect traffic from sites the government dislikes to officially-sanctioned ones …
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Major Chinese business paper claims iPhone 6 won’t go on sale in China this year – reliability unclear

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Bloomberg is quoting a report from the major Chinese business paper 21st Century Business Herald that the iPhone 6 may not go on sale in China this year due to regulatory delays. Apple was unable to confirm a launch date in the country.

Apple may have to wait until next year to get approval for new iPhones in China after failing to reach agreement with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology this month, the 21st Century Business Herald reported today, citing an unidentified person close to Apple.

Carolyn Wu, a Beijing-based spokeswoman for Apple, said she couldn’t provide a date for the China release. “China is a key market for us and we will get here as soon as possible,” Wu said in an e-mail today …

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China Mobile sold over 1M iPhones last month, chairman non-committal about the numbers

A man holds a new Apple iPhone 5S next to his iPhone 5 at an Apple Store at Tokyo's Ginza shopping district

Photo: readwrite.com

China Mobile announced that it sold 1.34M 4G handsets in February and that “most of them” were iPhones. China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua was relatively non-committal on the numbers.

It’s just been getting started for one or two months. So far it’s hard to tell how that will affect our business [...]

We are happy with the progress as we are still building our 4G network and the coverage is only available in some major cities.

Analyst estimates of likely sales had varied widely. Most had predicted at least 15-17M sales a year in China as a whole, however, suggesting that 1M in a month on what is by far the country’s largest carrier may be somewhat lower than anticipated …  Read more

Apple retail chief John Browett previews third retail store in Beijing ahead of weekend opening

We told you a couple weeks back that Apple plans to open its third retail store in Beijing on Oct. 20. The new Wangfujing Street store will open at 9 a.m., but Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail John Browett today gave press in Beijing a preview of the three-story location that happens to be Apple’s biggest retail store in Asia. Browett also confirmed Apple will open another store in Shenzhen.

Below, we get some shots of the new store’s 360-degree Genius Bars, three-story glass staircase, and more (courtesy of M.I.C Gadget): Read more

Beijing’s third Apple Store now official, opening Saturday

Apple will occupy the bottom of this building

Apple’s retail store expansion continues in China, as the company confirmed this evening that its third Apple Store in Beijing, China is opening Oct. 20. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company confirmed the news on its website, letting customers know the Wangfuijing store’s doors will open at 10 a.m. IfoAppleStore described the location:

Wangfujing Street, a mile-long, pedestrian-only collection of over 200 shops that include Chinese and international brands. The street’s retail history dates back to 1200, and it is now a major destination for locals and tourists. The existing Xidan Joy City Apple store is about a mile west of Tianman Square, while the Wangfujing location will be east of the square. The country’s first Apple store at Sanlitun is about 3½ miles northeast.

China has proved to be a big growth market for Apple. The company has positioned itself aggressively there with additional retail openings. Most recently, Hong Kong’s second Apple Store opened in Kowloon Tong in the Festival Walk shopping center in September. In the summer, we also reported another store is rumored for Hysan Place in Causeway Bay.

Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterated China’s importance several times on company earnings calls. Apple will also open a massive data center in Hong Kong, breaking ground in Q1 2013, our sources told us. Read more

Tim Cook meets with Vice Premier of China Li Keqiang, Proview claims “political public relations campaign”

We knew earlier this week that Tim Cook had “great meetings with Chinese officials” during his first trip to China as chief executive officer of Apple, but today a report from Bloomberg gives us new details about exactly who he met in China. According to the report, Cook met Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who could replace Wen Jiabao as Premier of the country’s government in 2013. Cook also met with Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong a day before. Apple spokesperson Carolyn Wu told Bloomberg that Li and Cook had a “great meeting,” but she declined to talk about the specifics.

However, a report from The Wall Street Journal cited local media reports and claimed Cook and Li were discussing “intellectual-property issues and greater cooperation.”

According to representatives for the creditors of Shenzhen-based Proview, the company Apple is in a dispute with over the iPad trademark, Cook is on a “political public relations campaign” regarding the legal disputes. Li Su, president of Hejun Vanguard Group who represents Proview’s creditors, made the remarks. When Apple’s spokesperson Carolyn Wu asked about Li’s comment, she said the following:

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Apple brings 25 billionth app download winner to Beijing to give her this $10,000 iTunes gift card

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Earlier this month, we told you Apple awarded a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card to Chunli Fu of Qingdao, China for downloading the 25 billionth app from the App Store. As part of her prize, Apple flew Fu to Apple headquarters in Beijing for a visit to the corporate offices and then the Sanlitun retail store to collect her prize at a press event and award ceremony. Several local reports from qdqss.cn and elsewhere were summed up in a story over on MIC Gadget.

According to the report, Fu was an iPhone user for only a month before being contacted by Apple about the contest:

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Chinese Authorities in Shijiazhuang snatch iPads from retailer over ‘iPad’ name trademark dispute

The Economic Times of India, Penn Olson, Ifeng.com, DigiCha and China.com.cn are all reporting that Chinese authorities in Shijiazhuang are confiscating iPads because of an ongoing Proview trademark litigation. Proview, you will recall, is suing Apple over its I-PAD trademark and hopes to receive up to $1.5 billion for the name.

As Penn Olson pointed out, the confiscations are in one city and so far just on third-party retailers. However, the action forced other retailers to take iPads off the shelves, though they can still be purchased if asked for. However, this latest action might be a sign of things to come…

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iPhone scalpers in China on the decrease as Apple resumes online sales of iPhone 4S, shipping by March 2

Last week we told you about a new online lottery system for reservations that Apple setup for iPhone 4S sales through its Hong Kong stores to combat scalpers after it was forced to suspend sales of the device in various locations throughout Mainland China. Unfortunately, until this week, Apple’s online store for China has been out of stock since the overwhelming launch.

After implementing the new reservation policies on Tuesday, and in Beijing on Wednesday, Apple has now resumed online sales of the device with shipments arriving to customers no later than March 2, reported ChinaDaily. Apple’s online store for Mainland China now lists the iPhone 4S with an expected delivery time of “February.” Customers are limited to two devices with all three models currently available in both black and white. An Apple employee confirmed the March 2 date to ChinaDaily:

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China Telecom says it will sell the iPhone 4S in a month

Earlier this month, we reported that China Telecom earned the necessary approvals to launch the iPhone 4S on China’s third-largest carrier. Today, the China Telecom subsidiary Beijing Telecom issued a press release (via China Daily) and said the Beijing-based company will launch the iPhone 4S as early as the end of February or beginning of March.

A CDMA version of the iPhone 4S will launch on the network. The press release gave no word on pricing for the device, but it will likely fall in line with the other networks.

China Telecom currently boasts 36.3 million 3G subscribers, while in comparison the nation’s largest carrier China Mobile Ltd., boasts 51.2 million 3G subscribers. Obviously, the launch of the iPhone 4S brings a lot of excitement in China, and it gives Apple the chance to add new customers. Moreover, launching on China Mobile would add an abundance of new customers, but that does not look to be happening anytime soon.

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