Beijing, July 17 (efe-epa) .- American tech giant Apple on Friday opened its second flagship store in Beijing – touted as its largest in the Asia-Pacific region – amid raging trade tensions between the United States and China.
The new Apple store is twice the size of the now-closed previous one located in the same area, inside the Taikoo Li shopping center in the wealthy neighborhood of Sanlitun.
People waited in queues to see the renewable energy-powered complex that features 33-foot tainted glass panels and Sophora japonica – the official tree of Beijing – adorning its west terrace, according to a company statement.
“The brand new store is twice the size of the original and introduces several firsts for Apple in China,” the statement said.
The store opened with the comprehensive health and safety procedures currently in place across all Apple Store locations for employees and visitors, including a mask requirement, temperature checks, and social distancing before entry and inside the store.
Official Chinese daily Global Times said it is the company’s second largest flagship store globally, the first being located in New York, and the biggest in the Asia-Pacific region.
The new store features many of Apple’s latest retail design updates, including a boardroom for local businesses and entrepreneurs to get personal advice and guidance from the Apple team.
“Since opening 12 years ago with 52 team members, Apple Sanlitun has welcomed more than 22 million visitors – the equivalent of every resident of Beijing – passing through its doors,” the statement said.
The new store has 185 Apple team members.
The store opened even as iPhone sales in China fell in May in signs of weakening business following an initial rebound when the country reopened after the coronavirus outbreak curve was flattened.
According to Shanghai-based consultancy CINNO Research, Apple sold 3.6 million iPhones in China in May, down from 3.9 million in April, just as coronavirus preventive restrictions began to be relaxed.
The new store of the tech giant, which has 42 stores in mainland China, opens amid a deterioration in trade and diplomatic ties between Beijing and Washington.
The ongoing trade war, blame game over Covid-19, and the sweeping national security law in Hong Kong have worsened bilateral tensions between the two biggest economic and military powers in the world. EFE-EPA