Apple will launch its first store in Hong Kong as the company seeks growth in Asia and nears release of its highly-anticipated iPhone 5.
Apple's iPhone, first launched in 2007, is the world's bestselling smartphone -- owned by more than 110 global consumers and growing fast every day. The company is nearing the launch of its latest version, the iPhone 5 -- and the move could be well-timed just ahead of the product's release.
The new store will be Apple's fifth in China, but first in Hong Kong. Apple currently has two stores in Beijing and two in Shanghai. The new store will be located in Hong Kong's IFC mall.
Apple has not said when the store will open, but media reports suggest it may be Sept. 24. Apple has confirmed the store will open, however, leading some to speculate that's just ahead of an iPhone 5 October launch.
Several fake Apple stores in China were closed in July by authorities, while China remains a fast growing market for Apple. iPhone sales have boomed in the country this year, and many analysts think Apple has only scratched the surface of opportunity.
Previously, Apple has said the company would like to open 25 stores in China, but it has moved at a slow pace. Apple is also planning to open another store in Shanghai, in addition to the first Hong Kong store, and the new Shanghai store is to be Apple's largest in China.
Apple's China stores expansion ties in well with the latest news on the long-awaited date of the release of the iPhone 5, now considered by many to be in mid-October. An alleged screen shot of a memo for Best Buy, a leading U.S. retailer involved in the iPhone 5 launch, suggested in Internet rumors in recent days that mid-October is the date to watch.
Adding more fuel to the iPhone 5 October release date fire is a new report saying that Apple's Chinese subcontractors, FoxConn Technology and Pegatron Technology, have started producing the product. A Japanese IT Web site, Macotakara's danbo, said the two Chinese OEM companies have started production but that since Apple's iOS 5 system is not ready to install the assembled iPhone seems to be stocked without packaging.