Chongqing Apple Store unveiled as mural removed ahead of tomorrow’s opening

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We recently saw the mural Apple commissioned for one of its five new Apple Stores in China, and today the mural is down revealing the glass cylinder entrance of its Chongqing store, an apparent clone of its Shanghai store design. The store opens at 10am tomorrow.

The photos were posted on Taisy and appear to have originated from MacX. The interior of the store is very reminiscent of the spiral staircase in the iconic glass cube store on Fifth Avenue in New York (photo below) …

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China accused of protectionism through new cybersecurity rules aimed at western tech companies

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The NY Times reports that the Chinese government has adopted a set of supposed cybersecurity regulations on western companies selling technology to banks. These requirements are so absurd that it would be impossible for companies like Apple to comply.

The Chinese government has adopted new regulations requiring companies that sell computer equipment to Chinese banks to turn over secret source code, submit to invasive audits and build so-called back doors into hardware and software, according to a copy of the rules obtained by foreign technology companies that do billions of dollars’ worth of business in China.

The paper reports that while the regulations are so far limited to sales to Chinese banks, they are merely the first in a series of new cybersecurity policies expected to be introduced in the coming months, and businesses fear that they are designed to protect local manufacturers from western companies. It was recently announced that Apple became the biggest smartphone seller in China in the final quarter of last year …  Read more

Apple now leads the luxury gift market in China, taking the #1 slot from Hermès

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Apple is on rather a roll at the moment. A new world record for quarterly profitsBest-selling smartphone maker in China. Joint leader of the global smartphone market. Record-breaking app store earnings. Now Reuters reports that it’s picked up a new accolade, leading the luxury goods market in China.

Apple Inc has taken the number one luxury gifting spot in China from designer goods maker Hermès International SCA, according to a Hurun luxury report on Thursday, reflecting the iPhone maker’s recent hot streak in the country.

Hermès is a French maker of designer clothing and accessories, known for its scarves and handmade leather luggage …  Read more

Apple’s Q1 stats: iPhone now makes up 69% of total revenue, 1B iOS devices shipped, Apple Pay & China growth

Tim Cook

Apple announced a lot of numbers during its fiscal Q1 2015 earnings call today in addition to confirming the Apple Watch will ship in April. Some of Apple’s highlights include numbers on Apple Pay since its launch in October, the 1 billionth iOS device shipping in November, and big growth in China as Apple sells a record 74.4 million iPhones during the quarter.

Head below for a roundup of stats and milestones that Apple announced during the call: Read more

Apple grew 157% in China to over $16B in revenue last quarter

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Ahead of Apple’s fiscal Q1 2015 earnings report today, there were signs that Apple had enjoyed significant growth in China and a record number of smartphone sales in the region during the holidays. Today, we get some more insight into that growth, as Apple reported a 157% increase from the previous quarter: revenue of $16.144 billion in Greater China compared to $6.292 billion in Q3. Read more

Live blog: Apple’s Q1 2015 earnings call

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As it revealed earlier this month, Apple will have its quarterly conference call today at 2 PM Pacific/5 PM Eastern to discuss earnings from its fiscal year 2015 first quarter results. These results include sales 74.4 million iPhones, 21.4 million iPads, and 5.5 million Macs. Earlier today the company reported that it earned $74.6 billion in revenue during FY 2015 Q1.

While Apple’s previous quarter included the opening weekend of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sales, today’s numbers include the bulk of the sales in the United States and the initial sales of the new models in key markets including China. Today’s reported numbers do include the first sales numbers for the iPad since Apple began shipping the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, and the first Mac numbers since the Retina 5K iMac went on sale. Apple Pay will also be an area of interest for listeners as the mobile payment service only launched the day of the last quarterly conference call.

Investors and analysts will have an opportunity to ask Tim Cook and company questions during the earnings call, and we’ll be listening closely to bring you coverage. Read more

Anticipated iPhone numbers would see Apple threatening Samsung’s smartphone lead

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If Apple does indeed report iPhone sales in line with analyst expectations of 66.5M units, the company could be closing in on the market share lead Samsung has held in the smartphone market since 2011, reports the WSJ.

Research company Canalys notes that Apple’s anticipated growth in iPhone sales coincides with a dramatic drop in sales of Samsung smartphones.

Samsung’s share has been falling, hurt by lackluster sales of its flagship models and the rise of homegrown brands in fast-growing emerging markets. In the third quarter, Samsung shipped about 78 million smartphones, about 25% share of the global market, down from 34% a year earlier, Canalys said.

While that still leaves Samsung well ahead for now, it’s a trendline which could see Apple regain the lead it once held …  Read more

Apple commissions another artistic mural for upcoming Chongqing, China retail store

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Last week Apple posted a video showing how the calligraphy mural painted at one of its upcoming Chinese retail outlets was created just days before that store opened to the public.

Today the company has posted a new video of a second mural, this time at its new Chongqing location. The store features a unique cylindrical entrance, and Apple commissioned two artists—a China-based painter and US-based photographer—to collaborate on the artwork.

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Angela Ahrendts recruiting U.S. employees for China as new stores & initiatives revealed

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Apple Senior Vice President of Retail Angela Ahrendts is continuing to go all in on growth in China. In video messages to employees in recent days and weeks, Ahrendts has been recruiting employees from United States-based Apple Retail stores to relocate to China to help build up Apple’s retail efforts in the region. In a note to employees late last week, sources say that Ahrendts reported that approximately 200 Apple retail workers from the U.S. have already offered to make the move. Ahrendts added that the offer to move to China “has no expiration date because as the business grows, our needs will only become greater, so as your personal and professional life changes, just always keep China at the top of your mind, because we’re going to need you…”

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Apple now selling more iPhones in China than in US, say analysts

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Tim Cook said in October that it was “just a matter of time” before China overtook the USA as its biggest market, and it seems that time may be arriving sooner than expected – at least as far as the iPhone is concerned. The Financial Times reports that analysts expect tomorrow’s Q1 earnings call to confirm that Apple sold more iPhones in China than in the US.

Analysts at UBS estimate that China accounted for 36 per cent of iPhone shipments in the most recent quarter, compared with 24 per cent for the US. During the same period last year, 29 per cent of units were sold in the US and 22 per cent were in China, UBS said.

The view was supported by Creative Strategies, which forecast that Apple has sold around 2M more iPhones in China than in the US in the final calendar quarter of 2014 (Apple’s financial Q1) …  Read more

Westlake Apple Store officially opens its doors in Hangzhou, China (Photos)

Westlake Apple Store, Hangzhou, China

Apple CEO Tim Cook shared the grand opening photo via Twitter

Apple’s latest massive retail store—the Westlake Apple Store in Hangzhou, China—had its opening to the public today as officially scheduled. Naturally, much attention has been paid to what is now the largest Apple Store in Asia with Apple teasing the store’s grand opening earlier this month with a magnificent mural by artist Wang Dongling. You can see more shots from the scene around the new Westlake Apple Store below: Read more