Apple (News - Alert) seems to be doubling down on China. Not long after making a distribution deal with China Mobile, the tech giant has opened an official store on Tmall, a popular online marketplace in Asia.
Launched in 2008, Tmall has grown to host more than 70,000 merchants, including prominent brands such as Nike and the Gap. Some have gone as far as to dub Tmall’s parent company, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, as the Amazon of China.
The online store certainly looks like an official Apple property, but many questioned its authenticity until an Alibaba spokesperson confirmed that the page is Apple’s. However, both Alibaba and Apple have declined to comment further on the matter.
Regardless, analysts and investors expect sales of Apple products to grow immensely in China. This is further compacted by Apple’s China Mobile (News - Alert) deal. Being the largest carrier in the country, with more than 700 million subscribers, China Mobile will give Apple much greater access to Chinese consumers at a crucial time.
Apple’s primary mobile rival, Samsung (News - Alert), has seen its position in China weaken recently, a contributing factor to its recent profit dip, due in part to an influx of Chinese phone manufacturers releasing adequately capable devices at low prices. Meanwhile, as of the third quarter of last year, Apple ranked fifth in the country’s smartphone market, according to research firm Canalys.
Samsung competes at all levels of the smartphone market, while Apple has always clearly aimed for the high end. With greater access to China via China Mobile and Tmall, it’s very likely the iPhone (News - Alert) maker could enhance its position greatly in the months and years ahead.
Tmall and Taobao are Alibaba’s two shopping sites, both of which are very successful in China. Indeed, some researchers suggest that Alibaba may soon overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest e-commerce market.
Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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