Apple to open new store in Beijing on Saturday

The new store in Beijing could help alleviate demand for Apple's products

Apple plans to open a new company store in Beijing this coming Saturday, ahead of a likely launch of the iPhone 5 in this large market for the company.

The company already has five stores in mainland China, but in the past these haven't proven to be enough during high-profile product launches.

Apple posted information on the new store on its website. Once it opens, Apple will have three stores in Beijing, with the other three located in Shanghai. The company also has two other stores in Hong Kong, where iPhone 5 sales have already begun.

Official sales of the iPhone 5 in mainland China have yet to start, with the device still awaiting approval from certain regulatory departments in the country. Customers wanting to buy the iPhone 5 have resorted to purchasing the product from grey market vendors, who bring in products from outside mainland China only to sell at a higher price.

The opening of the new store could help alleviate the sometimes huge demand for Apple products. In January, Apple's launch of the iPhone 4S at its store in Beijing's Sanlitun district attracted a massive throng of people, forcing the store to abruptly cancel the device's sale. In response, one customer threw eggs at the store, resulting in Apple temporarily suspending all iPhone 4S sales at all its physical stores in China.

Apple has previously said China has become the company's second-largest market behind the U.S. The company's new store in Beijing will be located in Wangfujing, a major shopping area in the heart of the capital not far from the Forbidden City.

To help avoid skirmishes at its stores, Apple in July implemented a new reservation system for customers wanting to buy its latest version of the iPad. Sales of the device at Apple's Sanlitun store proceeded smoothly on launch day.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service

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