Monday, June 30, 2014, 07:18 am PT (10:18 am ET)
Apple job postings confirm six new Chinese retail outletsThe first phase of Apple's ambitious retail expansion in China appears to be nearing completion, with the company now advertising for available in-store positions in a number of mainland Chinese cities that do not currently boast a first-party outlet.
Apple's Causeway Bay retail store in Hong Kong
Apple's retail recruitment landing page for China lists job opening in six new cities — Chongqing, Hangzhou, Shenyang, Tianjin, Wuxi, and Zhengzhou. The postings were first noticed by Bloomberg.
Despite announcing plans to open 25 retail stores in China more than four years ago, Apple today has less than half that number of locations. Not including the semiautonomous city of Hong Kong — which will soon have four Apple stores in an area of eight square miles — all but two of those are in the major metropolises of Beijing and Shanghai.
That number is expected to triple in the next two years, Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the company's quarterly earnings call in April, as more emphasis is placed on catering to China's burgeoning middle class.
"We plan to triple the number of Apple Retail Stores [in China] over the next two years. We're continuing to expand in online. We're continuing to build out channels," Cook said. "We're up to 40,000 points of sales now in iPhone, but we're not nearly where we need to be on the rest of our product line and even the 40,000 is a low number in considering the broad landmass and the number of folks in China. And so, I feel like there's still loads of opportunity there, and feel really, really good about how we're doing."
The foundation for the expansion was put in place under former retail executive Ron Johnson but is now being overseen by new retail chief Angela Ahrendts, who moved to Apple from British fashion house Burberry in May. Burberry is one of the fastest-growing fashion brands in China, with more than 70 official outlets in the Asian nation.
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