With its massive glass windows looking out onto Beijing's iconic Wangfujing walking street, Apple brought it's third store to the capital this morning to the cheers, enthusiasm, and fans queuing that have become a given at any Apple event in China.
At 9 am the doors opened and let the fans in to the beautifully constructed new three story retail store. Staff cheered and greeted customers throughout the morning, and many of the early visitors were given a commemorative T-shirt with the word "Wangfujing" together with the Apple logo.
18-year-old Li Yong Qiang waited through the night in the hopes of a surprise iPhone 5 launch at the store, which has not yet been released in the mainland.
"I've been waiting here for about 16 hours, because I heard a rumor that the iPhone 5 would be released at 9 AM today, so I got in line to check it out. Actually, I'm not that bothered that it didn't happen. I just enjoy the whole experience. I like the exciting atmosphere of standing in line."
24-year-old Han Jinglei was here for the door opening as well, though he didn't see any reason to wait in line through the chilly autumn night.
"I got up at 7 to come here, because I didn't think it was necessary to come any earlier. I just wanted one of the commemorative t-shirts and to see the biggest Apple store in Asia. I didn't care about my place in the line. I'm happy this store has opened, because Beijing only had 2 Apple stores before. It's the biggest in Asia, and the exterior, the atmosphere, and the 3-level glass spiral staircase have made a strong impression on people."
Some Apple executives were in attendance at the launch, which provided even more excitement for the crowds. Han Jinglei says this just proves how important the Chinese market is becoming for Apple.
"I saw online that the senior vice president of retail would be attending this launch, and that they're also going to open a new Apple store in Shenzhen. This shows how important the Chinese market is. Opening a store in this area, with its very high rental costs, shows that Apple has a lot of confidence in China. And look at the excitement here!"
Throughout the morning, Apple staff enthusiastically greeted visitors and cheered as customers left with newly purchased items. The party-like atmosphere that Apple can generate with the launch of a new store or product is impressive, and Han Jinglei hopes Apple can keep it up in the future.
"I don't know if this store will always be like this, but I think their enthusiasm, their boldness, and the "Think Different" culture of Apple is really apparent here. I hope this culture will stay with Apple, in China and everywhere. It should always have this youthfulness and enthusiasm, like the staff has now. The Xidan store is like this too - it makes you so excited!"
John Browett, Apple's senior vice president of retail, said a store in the south China city of Shenzhen is about to open and there will be more stores across China in the future.