It is on the more official side of the equation where Apple is struggling, however. In what commentators are calling a response to widespread Western cyber-surveillance, the Chinese government has dropped Apple products from its list of approved state purchases.
West Lake Apple Store in Hangzhou. Photo: Foster + Partners
Apple’s architectural firm, Foster + Partners, released pictures of the gorgeous new West Lake store in Hangzhou that was recently completed. The new Apple Store was covered by an incredible mural during construction, but the finished all-glass facade is even more stunning.
The firm says West Lake store was made in close collaboration between Apple and Foster + Partners’ engineers to create the perfect environment to view products. The end result is a 15-metre-high glazed box with a design that “combines an understanding of the local context with the philosophy of simplicity, beauty and technical innovation that characterises Apple’s products.”
A cookie to the first person who spots the obvious Photoshopping. Photo: Suwen University of Hong Kong
Move over Xiaomi! While it’s easy to claim that China’s biggest smartphone upstart holds the crown for boldest Apple ripoff artist, Xiaomi has nothing on the Suwen University of Hong Kong.
If you haven’t heard of Suwen University, don’t worry: You’re not alone. It’s a fake, selling false diplomas and bachelor’s degrees online through China’s largest shopping website, the Alibaba-owned Taobao.
So what makes this a story about Apple? Well, take a look at the university’s impressive computer science lab, as it appeared in photos posted to the fictitious university’s Facebook page. For those unfamiliar with Hong Kong, it’s a photo of the city’s flagship Apple Store — albeit with a dodgy, Photoshopped logo to replace the instantly recognizable Apple one.
Forget building a quality app; this is the way to score a hit in the App Store. Photo: Weibo
An app manipulation farm sounds like someplace developers would go for a weekend retreat, complete with chiropractor sessions. In fact — according to a photo which has gone viral on social media in China — it’s a place where devs can pay for their apps’ download numbers to be artificially inflated.
Why would anyone want to do this? Simply put: because more downloads (perhaps accompanied by positive reviews) enhances apps’ chart position, thereby raising their discoverability level, and hopefully prompting people to download them.
The photo in question appears to show a worker at one such place, sitting in front of what look like around 100 iPhone 5c units. Reports claim that her job is download, install, and uninstall specific apps repeatedly to boost their App Store rankings. Another similar table can be seen opposite her.
The image is accompanied by a second one, showing the alleged prices being charged to get your app to the top of the App Store rankings. Here’s how much you need to pay to secure a no. 1 rated app for yourself:
Hang on, I’ve just got some dust in my eye! Photo: Apple
One of the most interesting things about Apple’s continued expansion into China is going to be watching how it tweaks its marketing to target a country Tim Cook has claimed will soon be Apple’s biggest market.
Ahead of Chinese New Year on February 19, Apple has debuted a new ad in China, updating it’s warmly-received U.S. ad “The Song” for a new audience. Both ads tell the story of a young woman who uses a combination of their Mac and GarageBand to record a duet featuring their grandmother’s voice from the past.
As with virtually every ad Apple has ever put out, the message is less about technology for its own sake, and more to do with how it can be used to enhance the life of individual users.
You can check out and compare both versions of the ad after the jump:
Apple’s latest Chinese Apple Store will open this Saturday. Photo: MacX
As China continues its march to become one of Apple’s most important markets, the country’s press have been given a special advance preview of the company’s forthcoming second Chongqing Apple Store, set to open at 10am local time this Saturday, January 31.
Not dissimilar to the concept behind Apple’s Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York, the new Chongqing Apple Store features a stunning glass structure emblazoned with the Apple logo, leading to an underground shopping area. In doing so, the store recycles the design Apple first created for its Pudong retail store in Shanghai.
Check out some some other beautiful inside images after the jump.
Land of the rising sales. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
China may have been a bit late to the iPhone 6 party due to a drawn-out regulatory approval period, but it seems the wait was worth it — both for Chinese customers and Tim Cook’s wallet.
Ahead of what should be a blockbuster earnings call for Apple on January 27, UBS analysts are predicting that the holiday season will be the quarter in which China finally sold more iPhones than the U.S.
Wang Dongling’s poem at the Hangzhou Apple Store. Photo: Apple
Apple’s stunning new store in Hangzhou China is drawing raves, even though no one has seen what it’ll actually look like. The outside of the store has been covered with a giant Apple Store sized mural during construction, only instead of throwing up another boring white box, Apple teamed up with famous calligrapher Wang Dongling to create a beautiful poem on the outside.
To celebrate the upcoming West Lake store, Apple published a video today going behind the scenes with Dongling and his creative process for creating the artwork on the store. Dongling is renowned for his experimentation in merging Western and Chinese forms to push calligraphy in a new direction.
“The lines in calligraphy need to have life in them”, Dangling says in the video. “They need to have an aesthetic feeling. They need to have a kind of magical energy endowed by nature.”