Apple has launched an online Apple Store in China.
Opening for business yesterday, the new Chinese version of the Apple Store lets customers in China buy iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other Apple products online. Beyond providing the traditional Apple lineup, the store is also selling certain third-party products. Apple is offering free shipping and discounts for students and teachers.
Shoppers can also get free personalized engraving on an iPod or iPad and can configure Macs with the options and features they want, Apple said. And prepping for the holiday season, Apple is offering personalized gift wrapping on the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and other products.
"We are thrilled to open our newest online store in China," Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said in a statement. "With personalized engraving, configure-to-order options, and free shipping on everything, the Apple Store is a great destination for our customers in China."
Beyond the new Apple Store, users in China can now access Apple's App Store in Simplified Chinese, featuring local apps and charts of China's most popular paid and free apps.
The iPhone without Wi-Fi capability has been available in China for the past year. But it wasn't until last month that Apple introduced a Wi-Fi-enabled version of the iPhone 4 and the Wi-Fi-only edition of the iPad.
Liu Chuanzhi, chairman of China-based PC maker Lenovo, told the Financial Times in July that Apple is missing a tremendous opportunity in China. Chuanzhi was quoted as saying: "We are lucky that Steve Jobs has such a bad temper and doesn't care about China. If Apple were to spend the same effort on the Chinese consumer as we do, we would be in trouble."
But Apple has been pushing to make a greater dent in the Chinese market. In addition to its new online store, the company has launched retail outlets in China this year. Starting with its existing stores in Shanghai and Beijing, Apple has said it plans to open up a total of 25 retail outlets in China by the end of 2011.