But having recently unveiled its stunning new West Lake store in Hangzhou — featuring an all-glass facade and floating second floor — the company’s taking no chances: it’s filed (and been granted) a design patent to make sure that no-one tries to mimic its iconic design.
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Apple’s doing everything it can to push its brand in China, which Tim Cook is convinced will soon take over from the U.S. as the company’s primary market.
Having recently taken the top spot for smartphone sales in the country for the first time ever, and also beaten out the likes of Gucci and Chanel to be named China’s favorite luxury brand, Apple is now teaming with manufacturer Foxconn to introduce a trade-in program for iPhones — letting customers exchange their older iPhone handsets for credit against other Apple products.
The program is set to go into action next week, on March 31.
We got our first look at Apple Watch knockoffs at CES earlier this year, and while those junky devices were about as basic as they could be, more advanced knockoffs have hit the market since.
From right out of China, behold this shameless Apple Watch clone running Android:
Lust for Apple’s latest must-have gadget can make you do crazy things!
In what sounds like a cross between Breaking Bad and an Apple ad that I would totally watch, a story coming out China’s government-run Guangzhou Daily newspaper recounts the plight of a 21-year-old accused of orchestrating a crystal meth deal so as to be able to pay for an Apple Watch.
A Chinese workers’ rights group released a new report today that sheds light on the deplorable working conditions in factories that assemble the iPhone 6. According to China Labor Watch, on February 3, 2015, Pegatron assembly line worker Tian Fulei died while assembling the iPhone 6.
The hospital labeled the cause of death as “sudden death,” but fellow workers say Tian worked long overtime shifts day after day, which gave his family reason to believe that Tian died from overwork.
To smooth things over, Pegatron reportedly offered the family a measly $2,400 as compensation for their son’s death. Tian’s family of farmers couldn’t afford to pay for an expensive independent autopsy to prove the death was work-related. Eventually they took Pegatron’s next offer of $1,277 for his untimely death.
Ahead of the Apple Watch going on sale April 24, the Chinese market is being flooded with fake versions of Apple’s wearable device — many of them bearing an uncanny likeness to Apple’s smartwatch, at a fraction of the cost.
Starting at less than $50, the “inspired by Apple” Apple Watch knockoffs are predominantly modelled on the cheaper Apple Watch Sport devices, but I’d be in no way surprised if we saw Apple Watch Edition replicas turn up at a later date, much as we routinely see fake Rolexes today.
One out of every four smartphones sold in urban China was an iPhone during the three months ending January 2015, according to sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. The impressive stats only serve to underline what we’ve been pointing out for upwards of the past year: that China is well on its way to becoming Apple’s biggest market globally.
“Leading into Chinese New Year, Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus drove sales to an unprecedented high in urban China with iOS’ share of the smartphone market reaching 25.4 percent – a 4.5 percentage point increase over the same period in 2014’, noted Carolina Milanesi, Kantar’s chief of research.
Ahead of Apple’s March 9 event, the Apple Watch has popped up in another non-tech magazine, boasting some fashion shots of it being worn by a male model. The magazine is East Touch, a Hong Kong-based Cantonese magazine aimed at (predominantly female) readers between the ages of 20-30, and covering mainly celebrity, fashion and entertainment news stories.
This is just the latest fashion publication to feature a look at the Apple Watch, following shortly after the devices was profiled with a multipage spread in the March issue of Vogue.
On the consumer side, Apple couldn’t be hotter in China: not only taking the top spot for smartphone sales in the country for the first time ever, but also beating out the likes of Gucci and Chanel to be named China’s favorite luxury brand.
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.
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.”
Check out the store’s floating staircase below: