Apple’s flagship retail store in Westlake, China, opened in January this year and showcased in a video at the opening of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s keynote address last month, is a showcase of the tech giant’s retail push.
In the last six weeks prior to keynote, Cook said the company opened six stores, bringing to 21 its total stores in China. Globally, there are 453 stores in 16 countries, visited by 120 million customers in the last quarter.
An independent study conducted by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech and released prior to Apple’s latest press event shows that for the three months ending in January 2015 Apple’s iOS reached its highest ever share in urban China with one in every four smartphones sold being an iPhone.
"Leading into Chinese New Year, Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus drove sales to an unprecedented high in urban China with iOS’ share of the smartphone market reaching 25.4% – a 4.5 percentage point increase over the same period in 2014,” reported Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
During the period, the research firm said Apple continued to close the gap with Xiaomi, which remained the leading brand in urban China but with only a 2.2 percentage point advantage.
Tamsin Timpson, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia, said Xiaomi had several smartphones in the top 10 chart with the RedMi Note its best selling device and the second most popular product behind the iPhone 6 which has a share of 8.9%.
Milanesi said that while mid-tier consumers might be more accessible than high-end ones, manufacturers will have to work harder than ever to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace.”