Apple Inc. (AAPL) currently operates six retail stores in greater China, and serves more than 216 million people per store, in comparison to the total population in the country. AAPL has two retail stores in Beijing, three in Shanghai, and one in Hong Kong. In 2010, when Ron Johnson was still head of Apple Retail, he suggested that the company would open over 25 retail stores in China.
On Wednesday, a report from Reuters revealed that the state of Pennsylvania has more Apple Retail Stores than all of China, a fact that can be quite surprising when considering that the 6 retail stores in China bring in one fifth of Apple’s total revenue. Pennsylvania currently has eight stores, with 3 in Pittsburgh and 5 others across the state. The population of the state is at 12.7 million as opposed to the 1.2 billion people in China.
The Cupertino company is taking its time in China and selecting prime retail locations that can serve numerous regions. Due to Apple’s lack of a large retail presence in China, a strong surge in scalping has become an issue at some locations. Scalpers essentially buy out stock of a newly introduced Apple product on launch day and then attempt to sell them on the street illegally for much higher prices, because of Apple’s low stock and pent up demand.
Apple’s future is definitely in China, where the company is quickly building a reputation and a large customer base. Last month, Chinese government officials stated that Apple may be looking to open two new retail locations in Chengdu and Shenzhen. Shenzhen is currently the location of a Foxconn factory, where Apple’s products are manufactured. Apple has not yet commented on this report and has not announced any further plans to open more retail locations or follow Ron Johnson’s plans for over 25 retail stores in China.