Apple Store, Shanghai - Testament to Apple's Popularity in Shanghai
The Apple Store just across JinMao tower is significantly larger than the store in East Nanjing Road, Shanghai. Although the entrance sports a smaller version of the iconic store facade in New York City, this Apple Store occupies a full floor underneath a mall.
The Apple craze in China is definitely old news, with stories of young girls giving up their virginity to get their hands on a brand new iPhone. While riding Metro Line 1 on a crowded weekday, there is very little doubt that no less than 40% of the passengers are toting an iPhone or an iPad - a significant numbering considering the number of Chinese brands available and the amount of advertising visible from manufacturers such as Nokia and Samsung.
Although I have an iPod touch, which I received as a gift, I can't really afford most of the products found on the Apple Store. I frequently visit the Apple Store just to get a feel of the aluminum chassis of a Macbook Pro or do an informal benchmark of Mac OSX on a Macbook Air (for the nth time). What surprises me is that despite Apple's utterly limited number of products, it's always a pleasure to check out the store, whether it's situated in Shanghai or Manhattan.
As I walked around the cavernous Batcave-like Apple Store in Pudong recently, I was green with envy as crowds of Shanghainese carry out their iMacs or unbox their iPhones. The enthusiasm is contagious - much more so than in the U.S., where the noise only comes from the Genius Bar. In Shanghai, the flurry of activity is coming from every table, whether it's an iPod Touch, Mac Mini, or iPad on display. The generous amount of space allows many customers to try out the Apple products at the same time.
During weekends, parents bring their kid (singular) to the Apple Store in Pudong just so the little monster can take violent swipes at the iPad's screen. As he does, a young Apple staff would typically laugh as the dad embarrassingly tries to pull the child away. The Chinese Apple staff wear their blue shirts proudly. They don't exactly strut around like they spit on Microsoft products like they do in the U.S., but they certainly feel privileged to be wearing an apple on their shirt. The demographic of the customers crosses boundaries with graying professionals, married yuppies, classy (and leggy) ladies visiting the store.
As I write this blog entry on an Ubuntu-powered, Lenovo Ideapad, I remember that I'm saving up for an Android tablet next year, not an iPad. Strangely enough, I'm pretty sure I'll be visiting the Apple Store again soon, too.