From the realm of sci-fi to Steve Jobs’ glass staircase: The Hong Kong Apple Store is official. Where is it? What does it look like? How will the store affect the city’s “gray market” for Apple products?
Here’s everything you need to know about Apple’s newest Apple Store in Asia, all in one place. And trot past the break for a video of the Apple store grand opening.
So let’s start with the basics. The store appears to be a normal Apple store right? Nothing could be further from the truth.
First the Apple store in Hong Kong is very special. It is a flagship, but it isn’t just that simple. It is also the most expensive Apple store, and it is being compared to other high profile stores in Paris, London, and New York’s Fifth Avenue. The store has 15,000 sq ft of space, and covering two levels of the IFC mall. What’s IFC mall? It is a 4.7 million square-foot complex, and contains 200 stores, comprising a unique combination of high-end shopping and entertainment outlets, prestigious offices and Hong Kong’s finest hotel and suite hotel. The Hong Kong Apple store aims to accept 40,000-plus visitors a day, four times the average of US stores.
The flagship Hong Kong Apple Store at IFC Mall
Hong Kong is well-known as the Asian shopping paradise providing an array of luxurious shops and malls, the city turns out to be one of the leading travel destinations in Asia for mainland tourists. Up to 80 percent of mainland tourists come all the way from their hometowns to Hong Kong to purchase quality products, and these mainlanders always plan to spend HK$12,000 (about $1540) on average during their stay in Hong Kong, with more than half of the money allocated on shopping for luxury clothing and electronic products. So, in order to attract mainland tourists from the Guangdong province, Apple decided to open their first Hong Kong store in Central, and the company has negotiated a 10-year lease for the retail space, spending $20 million-plus for construction and up to $9.4 million a year for rent.
The gigantic glass display spans three 6 lanes of traffic
The lower level is enclosed with one entrance on the mall side and glass windows to outside. The upper level is all glass on the mall side, glass windows to outside. It is connected to mall hallway via glass bridge and the two levels are connected via spiral glass staircase.
The store covers two levels of the IFC mall
Next, you have the spiral staircase. It is made of frosted glass this time. Before it was not. Why is this important? Well at the other stores, and especially at the Pudong store, there was a major problem with people standing under the glass stairs and staring up at people. It was so bad, that at the Pudong store Apple put a security guard by the stairs so people could not do that any longer.
The iconic glass staircase in Hong Kong Apple store
Also, the Genius bar which is on the second floor, is now in the centre of the room as opposed to the back. This is because Apple gets four times the traffic of the American stores, in China. It has been noticed that at Sanlitun it takes almost two hours to see a genius. Apple’s benchmark NPS (Net Promoter Score) which measures how satisfied customers are is noticeably down at all the Chinese stores due to the wait times. Hopefully this can rectify it.
Another thing that differentiates this store from the mainland Apple ones, is that they do not have the fake money detectors. As counterfeit money is not as big a problem in Hong Kong as the mainland, perhaps that is why. The automatic money counters and drawers hidden on the tables are present however. Instant payment with credit cards and debit are also enables through the express zone. This enables customers to get in and out quickly.
Please note that as per other stores this size, almost 300 employees have been hired. One interesting thing is that at least one of the managers is from Motorola, and as per Apple practice one is from the GAP also. They like the GAP because the policies that company uses of mimics their own. It is a company where Apple gets many of it’s managers from.
Why? First, you must know that it is not convenient for the citizens from Guangdong province to travel to Beijing and Shanghai, airplanes are absolutely needed for the travel. If you were in a car and maintained an average speed of 60mph (96 kmh) over the course of your journey, it would take you around 20 hours to get from Guangdong to Beijing, and 13 hours to Shanghai. If the Guangdong citizens visit Hong Kong, it will only take them 2 hours for the journey by bus.
Also, 5000 shirts were given out to the people who showed up on the first day.The shirt looks exactly like the sign that was over the glass before launch. We at M.I.C. like the Nanjing road one much better.
Apple Store vs. The Gray Market