Apple today opened up its first retail store in Hong Kong at the IFC Mall and to say that people were excited would be a gross understatement.
The new store is located in an extremely busy shopping district and features an elegant and modern design. The store is comprised of two levels connected via Apple’s patented spiral glass staircase. The front of the store features huge glass windows with a view looking out onto the Victoria Harbour. Apple’s Hong Kong store is said to be its most expensive retail store to date, with construction costs believed to be $20 million.
That’s a lot of money, but if the absolute swarm of people that showed up on opening day today is any indication, Apple should be able to recoup its investment in no time. By 3am, hours before the store opened, over 300 people were already waiting in line.
Impressively, Apple’s first Hong Kong store will employ approximately 300 employees with 40,000 visitors expected to walk in and out on a daily basis. To put that into context, the 40,000 visitor figure is about 4x the volume of an Apple retail store in the US.
Here’s a video courtesy of Engadget China capturing the moment the store opened for business. The mass of people is staggering and the first folks into the store are welcomed by the requisite cheering and high fives from Apple’s retail staff. Also, note that many of the people waiting in line already seem to be using Apple products.
While Apple has a few authorized resellers in Hong Kong, this is the company’s first retail store in the area. And an indication of Apple’s commitment to expanding in the Greater China area, Apple is planning a second retail store in Hong Kong at the Hysan Place in Causeway Bay sometime in 2012.
Apple’s interest in China is quite apparent, with Tim Cook stating explicitly during Apple’s most recent earnings conference call that the company hasn’t even yet scratched the surface of the potential it sees in China. Recently, there have been rumors that Apple’s next-gen iPhone will be available on China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier with over 600 million subscribers.