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Apple fans at the new store at Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong. Photo: David Wong

Apple fans descend on new store in Kowloon Tong

Hundreds queue overnight to be on time for start of business at shop Kowloon Tong


Apple welcomed hundreds of eager fans, some of whom had waited in line overnight, at the launch of the technology giant's 385th branded store, at the Festival Walk mall in Kowloon Tong.

The new Apple Store launched yesterday 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 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 6 o'clock last night," Ng said. "I might not buy anything. I just wanted to have a look."

Ng was also one of the first in line at the launch of the IFC Mall Apple Store last year, 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 that the new shop "is 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

"We have 385 stores today and in the past 12 months, we've welcomed over 350 million people to our stores."

China is Apple's second-largest market after the United States.

But retail expansion in the country by Apple, maker of the iPhone and iPad, has been slow, despite a forecast it made in 2010 that there would be 25 physical Apple Stores completed across the country by the end of this year.

The store's opening came a day after Apple's chief executive, Tim Cook, posted a public apology on the company'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 programs such as those from Google or Nokia.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Apple fans stay up for opening of second store