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Largest Apple Store in Asia opens to huge crowd

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
When the Wangfujing Apple Store opened its doors to a crush of customers on Saturday local China time, the third brick-and-mortar Apple retail location in Beijing officially became Asia's largest.

Wangfujing Opening
Source: The Next Web


According to on-site reports from The Next Web, throngs of excited Apple fans lined up hours in advance to be one of the first to enter the world's newest Apple Store.

Among the usual features, Apple's Wangfujing location boasts a central winding glass staircase spanning the store's three stories, two 360-degree Genius Bars and a facade dominated by glass. The outlet joins the company's stores in the region, five in China and two in Hong Kong, and adds to the over 390 Apple Stores operating worldwide.

Apple's new Asian flagship outlet is situated between China's first Apple Store in Sanlitun and the Xidan Joy City location near Tiananmen Square, which are about three and a half miles apart. Pedestrian traffic is expected to be high as Wangfujing Street is a historic shopping area frequented by both locals and foreigners.

It was reported on Thursday that Apple Senior Vice President of Retail John Browett visited the Wangfujing location to offer media a guided tour of what he called the best store Apple has built in Asia. The executive also let loose that construction of a fourth Chinese location was already well underway in Shenzhen, a city in which Foxconn and other Apple manufacturing partners run major fabrication facilities.
post #2 of 17
Simply awesome...

With products like the iPhone 5 Apple stores will rock...

I am grateful for owning an iPhone 5.
The more I use the device the more it amazes me.
If you own one, take a good look at the engineering wonder.
post #3 of 17
Don't the two Shanghai stores count towards the China total?
post #4 of 17
I think I'm actually in that photo from the article...smack dab i. The middle of that mess towards the right side, but most of us were in black so I'm having trouble finding myself there. the crowd stopped after the far right end of the queue, but that was only half the cattle fences present...the photo makes it look deceptively at capacity, but that crowd fills about 1/2 of the plaza in front of the store.

About the experience:
I got to the store at about 7:30 for a 9am opening. I was approximately #250 in line or so. I only know that because they were making us all sign a waiver for the Apple film crew that was constantly taking HD video and photographs. I was actually kind of surprised there wasn't more people there. maybe they didn't report much about it in the Chinese blogs.

Anyway, about 45 minutes prior to opening all the apple employees were doing their usual pow-wow and pre opening exercises, trying to hype up the crowd from within the store by jumping and clapping and screaming things like "Apple Store" in English. Then about 10 min. From opening they all exited the store and ran around the crowd giving everyone high-fives. Te doors opened after that. Oh, they also were posing for photo-shoots by Apple's marketing team.

As you enter, the first 500 or more got a little white box with a t-shirt in it and a crowd of blue shirts treated you and gave you high-fives and screamed stuff. Upon opening there was I'd say about 1500 people in line and about 200-500 spectators not in line. They stopped handing out t-shirts well after I entered.

Store layout:
The store has 3 floors. 2 above ground and a basement. The footprint of the store is basically a pie-shaped wedge with a bite out of it...semicircular if you will. Each floor exits to a shopping mall in the back as well as the single front entry from the street. The 2nd floor steps back a bit and the now-typical glass stair is in the middle of the arc-shaped space. At the ends of the semicircular space on the 2nd and basement floors are free-standing Genius Bars. there Was only one physical "cash wrap" that I could see and it's in the basement level directly under the street level entry.

The first floor has basically one of every product Apple sells (except for accessories like cords and airports and the likes). One half of this floor is all iOS devices and the other half is OSX devices. The second floor is mostly genius bars and MacBooks. The basement is another mix of stuff including Apple's, and 3rd party accessories.

I was there taking photos for about 75 minutes and left. There was no new products there except for the new MacBooks. The new iPods were not on display, nor was the iPhone 5, which is not surprising given China seems to be about 6mos. Behind the rest of the world with Apple iOS products.

Just got back to my hotel from the event. Got my t-shirt. Frankly I think the box had more thought behind the design than the shirt. If you got one, try unfolding it completely...pretty cool shape! The shirts were all black with a tiny apple logo and the name of the store location in white Chinese characters. Wang fu jing.

Id post some photos but can't figure out how to do that rom my iPad. And this editor only has options for posting URLs for photos and video, because I did take a short video of them greeting customers.

My thoughts on the store, since I am an architect.... It's freakin' huge! Otherwise, they use similar design elements from other apple store designs...almost like the Chinese way of design, copy/paste. I think that's for no other reason but to take on the masses of people that will shop here daily. They placed the tables about twice as far apart than a typical USA store to handle the crowds.

I saw Browett there, I had to look up his photo online later because i didnt recognize him. He was signing autographs. There was a bunch of other non-Asian Apple people there too but none looked familiar.

I also was interviewed by a local staff reporter from the Beijing office of the WSJ. Hopefully I'll get a little blurb in the global or Asian edition...fingers crossed.

Well, that's my 2cents on the experience. Was cool but the shirts were boring, and the store design is a bit boilerplate now, but I get it...it was designed for massive volume of customers familiar to the brand, not to attract new customers.

I'll have to figure out how to post photos from my iPad in a bit.
Edited by antkm1 - 10/20/12 at 4:40pm
post #5 of 17
Cheers for the interesting post!
If you're going to be original, then you can count on being copied.
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If you're going to be original, then you can count on being copied.
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post #6 of 17
They haven't fired Browett yet?

And he definitely shouldn't be signing autographs! He hasn't done ANYTHING except try to ruin Apple.
post #7 of 17
Samsung mo doubt took advantage of this to film another isheep commercial
post #8 of 17
@antkm1 I remember the gargantuan Best Buy opening in Xu Jia Hui district of Shanghai in 2008/9ish. Advertised as their single largest store in the world. Yet it seemed to me to be mostly wide aisles and very few products. It didn't help I could buy anything there 30% or more cheaper across the street at any electronics mall. But back to floor room, no doubt, when it is busy in China, you need aisle room.
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Samsung mo doubt took advantage of this to film another isheep commercial

It's an interesting time when you create an entire smear campaign around your competitor being more popular and successful than you are.

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

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post #10 of 17
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
^^^ That post doesn't break any AI rules?

 

Yep. Er, nope. Er, it does.

Originally Posted by asdasd

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Originally Posted by asdasd

This is Appleinsider. It's all there for you but we can't do it for you.
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post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post

My thoughts on the store, since I am an architect....

Are the tables in a fan arrangement as it looks in some of the other photos-- does it "work?" It looks like an opportunity to maintain organization without the rigid orthogonal lines that plague the standard designs of the stores.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Are the tables in a fan arrangement as it looks in some of the other photos-- does it "work?" It looks like an opportunity to maintain organization without the rigid orthogonal lines that plague the standard designs of the stores.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnesota_Steve View Post

@antkm1 I remember the gargantuan Best Buy opening in Xu Jia Hui district of Shanghai in 2008/9ish. Advertised as their single largest store in the world. Yet it seemed to me to be mostly wide aisles and very few products. It didn't help I could buy anything there 30% or more cheaper across the street at any electronics mall. But back to floor room, no doubt, when it is busy in China, you need aisle room.

One other observation from a space planning POV...the Massive aluminum-clad columns (id say were about 4' or 1.2m dia.) did kind of get in the way of traffic patterns, but only when wandering around without a purpose.

The tables were arranged in a fan layout as you say but widely spaced apart to accommodate larger crowds of people. It was difficult to say if this necessarily "worked" better or not. There were a LOT of people there and none were really shopping at all. It felt more like a big party and the libations were Apple products. People madly wandering around shooting photos, groups huddled over Apple products, chatting and playing. So my point is, it's hard to tell if this strategy works yet because the people traffic was not typical, and I would assume this store would probably not be as crowded as it was that day.

One strange thing I noticed was...on the 2nd floor there were nothing but the standard tables in the fan arrangement, and a free-standing Genius Bar at either end. However, every other table had a glass sign on them with something in Chinese character (of which I haven't a clue what it said) and a single MacBook on them. It was strange to have so many large tables and one product on them. My first thought was maybe the entire 2nd floor was a Genius Bar. But, this AI article thinks otherwise. And the designated tables for the Genius Bar actually had a small glass sign that said Genius Bar in English. Another though could be related more to the Chinese way of doing things. Many shops and restaurants have what they call VIP rooms for private dining or more personalized attention to the customer. So maybe those tables are reserved for a more one-on-one style of customer service.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Yep. Er, nope. Er, it does.

we have global moderator, who thinks, their are a comedian...computer say 'NO'

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by souliisoul View Post

we have global moderator, who thinks, their are a comedian...computer say 'NO'

I'm not sure he was doing Vicky Pollard. TS, were you doing Vicky Pollard?

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

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post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


I'm not sure he was doing Vicky Pollard. TS, were you doing Vicky Pollard?

Vicky Pollard is teenager character from ' Little Britian' , I was using Carol Beer from "Little Britian'

 "Computer still says no... (coughs)"

Anyway the Wangfujing Apple Store looks better than some of the stores in US!


Edited by souliisoul - 10/22/12 at 3:02am
post #16 of 17

About time!

 

As I posted a couple of years ago, i.e., 6/16/10,

Quote:

Originally Posted by Onhka View Post
There is only one in Beijing. Was there last year and except for the language, everything about the store is typical to virtually every other Apple non-flagship store.

I must say, I didn't think the location was the best. Would much prefer it on Wangfujing Street.

Planning on being in Shanghai in July. Would love to see the store before the unveiling. Lucky enough it is just across the street from my hotel.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post

I think I'm actually in that photo from the article...smack dab i. The middle of that mess towards the right side, but most of us were in black so I'm having trouble finding myself there. the crowd stopped after the far right end of the queue, but that was only half the cattle fences present...the photo makes it look deceptively at capacity, but that crowd fills about 1/2 of the plaza in front of the store.

 

I would have loved to have been there. My wife was staying not far from there. I tried to convince her to stop in, hoping she would get me a t-shirt. But she is not the die-hard fan that I am. 

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by souliisoul View Post

Vicky Pollard is teenager character from ' Little Britian' , I was using Carol Beer from "Little Britian'
 "Computer still says no... (coughs)"
Anyway the Wangfujing Apple Store looks better than some of the stores in US!

Right. I thought you were doing Carol as a response to his assumed Vicky comment.


PS: I might have to fire up that series again.

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

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