Apple aims to expand in China

One of Apple’s retail stores in China.

(Credit: Apple )

Apple is trying to ramp up its share of the smartphone market and the number of retail outlets in the country.

Apple has been keen to expand the reach of the iPhone and the number of retail stores in China.

Both China Unicom and China Telecom plan to offer the iPhone 5 around the end of the year.

China Mobile remains the only one of the three major Chinese providers still without the iPhone. That’s due largely to the phone’s lack of support for the TD-SCDMA network used by China Mobile. However, a recent teardown of the new iPhone by iFixit revealed a Qualcomm modem that can talk to TD-SCDMA networks.

Apple has also reportedly spoken with China Mobile about offering the iPhone to its subscribers, according to the carrier’s chairman. But there’s been no recent word of any progress from either company.

Apple needs a big boost in China. A recent report from IDC found that the company’s Chinese smartphone market share had dropped to 10 percent in the second quarter, from almost half during the prior year’s quarter. Apple actually finished in fourth place behind Samsung, Lenovo, and ZTE.

The company is also amping up its retail presence in China.

In a media preview today attended by an editor from The Next Web, Apple Senior Vice President John Browett touted a new store slated to open its doors in Beijing.

Taking up three stories, the store will be Apple’s third in Beijing and the largest in Asia. The new store will be nestled on Wangfujing street, one of Beijing’s most famous shopping areas. Browett played up the location, saying it’s the best store the company has built in Asia this far, according to TNW. The Wangfujing store will employ more than 300 people.

Browett also confirmed another Apple store scheduled to open in Shenzhen as media outlets spotted workers setting up its lights and tables earlier this week.

And Apple has aggressive plans for further expansion. The goal is to one day serve “every customer in every city,” Browett said, but he acknowledged that it’s likely to take “some time,” TNW noted.

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