BEIJING: Apple megafans flocked to Beijing’s swish flagship store on Friday as the tech giant kicked off its fourth decade in gadget-mad China — even as it looks to shift some production out of the country. The California-based company held a series of events in Beijing at the first retail store it ever opened in China to mark the milestone of 30 years in the key consumer market.
Enthusiasts gathered at the sleek showroom in the commercial Sanlitun district to soak up the event, which featured an appearance by renowned Chinese record producer Zhang Yadong and several short films shot and edited entirely on Apple products. “I’m an old Apple fan,” said 17-year-old high school student Hu Jiarong in front of the Beijing store. “You could say I’m a hardcore fan. I’ve used iPhones since the 6s all along until the 14 Pro,” he added.
“I feel that each new generation is stronger than the last.” Since the US-based tech giant first established a presence in China in 1993, Apple has grown into a major provider of smartphones, laptops and consumer electronics in the country. But last year, sales were hit by curtailed production at factories as a result of China’s zero-COVID policy.
And US export controls on high-tech components are also threatening the company’s supply chain. Despite the developments, the firm still enjoys a strong base of loyal consumers in China. Twenty-two-year-old university student Vicky Zhang told AFP outside the store that she has been using Apple’s iPhones since she was in middle school. “It’s very comfortable to use, the packaging is very simple, and there aren’t any messy and chaotic icons,” said Zhang.
Asked if Apple’s relocating of production outside of China would impact her future smartphone purchasing decisions, Zhang said: “I don’t think so. “I think it’s just the trend, and not a loss of points from my perspective.” In March, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited Beijing, saying his company enjoyed a “symbiotic” relationship with China.
“For 30 years, we’ve been proud to serve local people,” Cook said in an online statement on Friday congratulating the firm on the anniversary. “We’ll continue to do our part in enriching the lives of Chinese customers, helping them reach their full potential, and trying our hardest to make the world a better place.” — AFP