Complementing its new retail stores in China, Apple has launched local versions of its online store and App Store in Chinese, reports the AFP. The Chinese online store is intended to make legal purchasing possible and stave off a growing number of illegal application stores in the country, which offer products for reduced prices, or free.
“We are thrilled to open our newest online store in China,” Apple’s chief operating officer Tim Cook said. “With personalised engraving, configure-to-order options and free shipping on everything, the Apple Store is a great destination for our customers in China.”
All of Apple’s 300,000+ apps will be available for download. Local best-sellers and Chinese language apps will be highlighted. Like every other region, the store will feature free and paid apps.
Apple is making strong investments in China. The company is expected to open 25 Chinese retail stores by the end of 2011 and has been aggressively pushing its products in the country. On Sept. 17, the iPad hit shelves in China, followed closely by the iPhone 4 on Sept. 25.
“The growth pace of China’s smartphone market, Chinese users’ passion for Apple products and the great potential of the country’s smartphone and mobile Internet devices market” all boosted Apple’s confidence, said Wang Liusheng, an analyst with research firm Analysys International.
China has more than 420 million Internet users and more than 833 million people with a mobile phone, making it the largest mobile market in the world.