As expected, China's newest Apple store opened today in Shanghai. The store's 300 employees were greeted by a crowd of over 500 people on hand for the grand opening. Located on the busy Nanjing road, the store is China's fifth Apple store and its largest. It occupies five stories of retail space and has an expected foot traffic of 40,000 customers each day.
The opening of this store is part of Apple's long-term strategy to increase its presence in China and other parts of Asia-Pacific. In the past, Apple has been slow to introduce products into China. It took Apple 4 months to introduce the iPhone 4 to China, 5 months for the iPhone 3GS and a whopping 16 months for the iPhone 3G.
Apple is trying to reverse this trend by slowly adding new retail outlets to improve its brand awareness and hopefully boost its sales in the region. Apple's biggest hindrance may be its own popularity. Demand for Apple products has created an underground network of fake Apple products being sold both in open air marketplaces and fake retail stores.