World’s biggest Apple store coming to China, scuffles already started

The world’s largest Apple store is set to open in the city of Dalian, north-east China, as the Cupertino-based tech giant works to increase its presence in its fastest growing market. The exact date of its opening hasn’t been announced.

According to a MIC Gadget report, a banner inside the city’s upmarket Parkland Mall gives notice of the upcoming Apple store, announcing that it will be the world’s biggest to date. Apple’s current largest store is in New York’s Grand Central Terminal and covers around 23,000 square feet of floor space.

The new record-breaking store will be located in Dalian’s affluent Century City shopping district. But even before it’s had a chance to open its doors to paying customers, it appears to be causing some problems with businesses already operating in the area.

It seems that Apple barricades erected outside the store have angered some traders, who believe they are having a negative impact on their own businesses. Security officers from a nearby establishment apparently attempted to remove the barricades, clashing with Apple security officers in the process. Police were called to help deal with the situation.

It’s not the first time a scuffle has taken place outside an Apple store in China, but it could be the first time it’s happened before it’s even opened for business. In May last year, scalpers caused a riot outside a store in Beijing as people lined up for the iPad 2, while in January trouble ensued outside the same store as an impatient crowd waited to get its hands on the iPhone 4S on its first day of sales in the country.

It may surprise some that Apple’s largest store, its sixth in China, is opening in a location few will have heard of, rather than in the capital Beijing or even Shanghai. But Dalian — population 3.5 million — is popular with domestic tourists, as well as those from South Korea and Japan. It is also a large seaport and financial center.

News of Apple’s forthcoming largest ever store comes as Apple CEO Tim Cook visits the Asian nation, meeting government officials and attending an iPhone production facility, as well as visiting an Apple store in Beijing — in altogether calmer circumstances, one assumes.

[Source: MIC Gadget, MacRumors]

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