Apple fans descend on new store in Kowloon Tong
Apple welcomed hundreds of eager fans, some of whom waited in line since Friday evening, at the launch on Saturday morning of the technology giant’s 385th branded store inside the Festival Walk mall in Kowloon Tong.
The new Apple Store is the company’s second in the city after a larger, flagship local shop was opened at Central’s IFC Mall in September last year. It is the firm’s seventh retail location in China, where there are also two stores in Beijing and three in Shanghai.
Apple staff gave a hearty cheer to 16-year-old J. J. Ng, who was the first person through the door of the new shop when it opened at 10 am. “I was here since six o’clock last night,” Ng said. “I might not buy anything. I just wanted to have a look.” He was also one of the first in line at the launch of the IFC Mall Apple Store, where he bought an iPod touch media player.
The Kowloon Tong shop appears to have one of the most spacious retail areas among Festival Walk’s tenants, but it is roughly half the size of Apple’s two-level,15,000 sq ft flagship store in Central.
Denny Tuza, Apple’s retail market director for Greater China, said the new shop “was a great complement to our IFC Mall store”. Apple recruited more than 200 new staff to serve in the Festival Walk location.
“That brings our total Apple retail employee count to about 600 in Hong Kong,” Tuza said. “Many of them come from across the whole of Hong Kong, some from as close as City University right across the street.” He added: “We have 385 stores on Saturday and in the past 12 months, we’ve welcomed over 350 million people to our stores.”
China - comprising the mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau - is Apple’s second-largest market after the United States. But the iPhone and iPad maker’s retail expansion in China has been slow, despite a forecast it made in 2010that there will be 25 physical Apple Stores completed across the country by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, Apple chief executive Tim Cook on Friday posted a public apology on the firm’s website for the faulty and much-criticised Maps application, which comes with the newly released iOS 6 mobile operating software used on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
“We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better,” said Cook, who suggested trying alternative mapping programmes like those from Google or Nokia.