As the world gears up for the 2012 WWDC and perhaps the long-waited confirmation of the iPhone 5 release date, Apple has plans to extend its empire with two new flagship stores in China’s Shenzhen and Chengdu. According to Chinese government officials, Apple is going ahead with the store openings despite an ongoing battle with Proview Technologies over the right to use the iPad product name.
China is widely known as one of the most lucrative and fast-growing technology markets in the world today, therefore to boost Apple’s five store contingency with a further two openings would likely solidify the brand’s lead.
In April this year, Apple credited a doubling of quarterly profit to an enormous spike in sales of the iPhone – a huge proportion of which came from the Chinese market.
However, the launch of a new flagship Apple store in Shenzhen could land Apple in even further legal trouble, as Proview Technology representatives have already confirmed their intentions to take legal action if the iPad range was offered for sale in the region.
Apple has been involved in an ongoing battle with Proview over recent weeks, with the ailing Chinese technology company claiming to be the rightful owner of the iPad trademark. Negotiations continue in court, though a resolution is thought to be some time away yet.
While the iPad range is known to be one of the key draws for Apple stores the world over, the company may also be at risk from illegal third-party resellers on the Chinese black market, should the ban be enforced.
Apple is also likely to face an ongoing threat from the enormous piracy problem in China, which is so extensive that counterfeit Apple stores have been created in some areas with employees genuinely under the impression that they were working for Apple.
While Apple has refused to offer comment on the status of its plans for China, the company’s website is listing a number of job vacancies for the two cities – in turn suggesting imminent openings.