Tech giant Apple has opened its first store in central China, taking its network in the mainland to 13.
The new store, in Henan Province, opened at the weekend in a shopping mall in downtown Zhengzhou, the provincial capital.
Apple says the opening marks an important step in the roll out of Apple’s retail stores in China, as the city is also home to Foxconn, Apple’s main supplier.
China is already Apple’s largest market and the company sees a significant share of its global growth coming from the country. Henan, with a population of 94 million, offers a strategic advantage, quite apart from the close proximity to its manufacturing plant.
China is expected to have accounted for as much as 35 per cent of iPhone 6 shipments in the last quarter of 2014, with the US market taking just 24 per cent. In the same period in 2013, China’s market share was 22 per cent.
Apple CEO Tim Cook predicts Apple will increase its China store network to as many as 40 during the next few years.