Update – April 24, 2009: Interfax TMT has now picked up this story - Shanghai. April 24. INTERFAX-CHINA – Electronics retailer Best Buy Co. Inc. intends to cooperate with China Unicom on introducing Apple’s iPhone to China, the CEO of Best Buy International told Interfax on April 24, despite Apple and China Unicom having yet to reach an agreement on the matter. Read details > HERE
China’s Five Star Appliance signs distribution deal with Apple
On February 21, 2009 Best Buy acquired a 100% stake in Five Star Appliance for $185 million USD. Today, the Jiangsu-based Five Star Appliance announced a deal with Apple to become a primary distributor of Apple products in China. Under terms of the deal, the “store-within-a-store” concept will be deployed in 40 top Five Star Appliance retail stores in China.
The first five Apple “stores-within-a-store” will open during the upcoming Labor Day holiday on May 1, 2009. The first locations will be:
- Nanjing Xinjiekou Store
- Wuxi Shenglimen Store
- Suzhou Shilu Store
- Hangzhou Wensanlu Store
- Changzhou Guanhelu Store
By the end of September 2009, the 40 Apple stores-wthin-a-store will all be open for business. These stores also plan to set up quasi cyber cafés with Apple Macs providing shoppers with Internet access.
There were rumors earlier this year that Foxconn Group’s Cybermart would distribute Apple products in China. The Cybermart deal has been “officially denied” by Apple and Foxconn (parent of Hon Hai Precision, Apple’s primary manufacturing partner).
Apple’s worldwide distribution is divided into four groups:
- Apple Stores (e.g. owned and operated by Apple – current China locations are in Sanlitun and soon in Qianmen)
- Apple Store-in-Store (ala Best Buy and now [soon] via 40 of Best Buy China’s Five Star Appliance stores)
- Apple Quality Distributor
- Apple Distributor
More on the Five Star Appliance deal with Apple > HERE