We have some very interesting news to tell you dear readers. Not all is good in the world of Apple in China. First we had the fake stores, and now it seems its next store that is to be opening in Shanghai has been delayed. We have exclusive details, read on!
So that new store we previously brought you news about opening in the Henderson building on East Nanjing road, is having great difficulties with its construction. I have recently come back from an in field project doing research for MIC, and I have found that the original date of opening, which was supposed to be August 20th was not deemed feasible by Apple.
This is for several reasons. The most important one is most certainly the issues Apple has been having with construction.
The Henderson building is a relatively new building, and the Apple store going inside it is unique for two reasons. The first reason is that it spans multiple floors, but more unusual is it is actually bigger than the flagship (Shanghai’s first Apple store) on West Nanjing road, in the Pudong district.
Apple had numerous issues with the network in the Pudong store, some being related to poor quality cabling and shielding practices, the other part being due to the great firewall of China affecting its intranet connection. The latter was solved before opening by lobbying the government of the great People’s Republic of China, whereas the former was solved by importing cable from overseas after it had been tested in house. Take note, one of our colleagues has tried using one of the displayed iMacs in the current flagship store in Shanghai, it took him about 60-90 seconds to load the whole page of Engadget.
With the Henderson building, it is far more severe. The HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning issues) of the building has been found and deemed numerous times to be insufficient for Apple’s needs. An Apple store has many servers and computers running in the background generating large amounts of ambient heat. Couple this with 40,000+ people coming in everyday and the staff as well, cooling is top priority to making a comfortable environment. So the company is trying their best to solve the insufficient ventilation and heat retention issues before welcoming the Chinese consumers to its biggest store in China.
In China it is not all cut and dry with building permits and practices. You see, the buildings that are made are often not close to western standards of construction. Also noting that Apple, while it is an extremely powerful company requires permits to modify a building’s structure just like every other foreign brand in that country, permits take time and this has contributed to the delay.
Apple has extremely stringent building standards. Everybody who has been in any Apple store worldwide knows those famous metal walls. Apple gives the contractors just 2mm of space to be within when placing them for example. Again this highlights an issue working in China, where best practices are often not adhered too during construction. My contacts indicate Apple is quote “frustrated”.
As it stands now my contacts have indicated Apple’s goal is to open the store within a timeframe “close to” the Hong Kong IFC store’s opening. With this consistent issue, especially in the top floors of the building it presents a challenge. I am hopeful Apple can reach their goal, but remain skeptical.
Again this highlights why Apple is unable to have 25 stores by 2012 as said by Ron Johnson in 2010.
We will keep you posted of new developments.
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