The Chinese economy may be down, but Apple’s not taking its foot off the gas for a second when it comes to hitting its target of opening 40 Apple Stores in China by the end of 2016.
The country’s 33rd Apple Store is set to open at 10am local time next Saturday, January 31, at the giant MixC shopping mall in Qingdao, a city in eastern Shandong Province on the east coast of China.
Apple already has multiple Apple Stores at MixC malls, with other locations including Chongqing, Nanning, Hangzhou, and Shenyang.
Tim Cook has previously said on multiple occasions that it is “just a matter of time” before China becomes Apple’s biggest revenue contributor. A report published toward the end of last year suggested that Apple’s hurry to open retail stores in China is linked with weaker than expected online sales in the region.
Part of the reason for this is said to relate to China’s e-commerce platforms having little interest in promoting Apple’s products due to “its weak profitability” for them. Opening Apple Stores (from just 15 in 2014 to 40 by the end of this year) is therefore a way for Apple to continue growing its sales in the country.
Last year, China overtook the U.S. as the number one country for volume of iOS app downloads, although the preference for free apps versus paid ones means it is still beaten by the U.S. and Japan when it comes to actual revenue generated.