One of the most logical cities on earth for an Apple retail store will end its 10-year wait this Saturday when the IFC Mall store in Hong Kong opens at 9 a.m. Among the world’s great business and retailing capitals, Hong Kong has 7 million multi-cultural residents who are joined each year by 36 million visitors from around the world, the latter spending $212 billion each year. Apple picked a location on Hong Kong island, within the busy IFC shopping mall occupied by upscale businesses, and within a complex that includes a four-star hotel and high-rise office tower. Apple announced Saturday’s grand opening with a traditional store-specifc Web page. But interestingly, that page is listed under an entirely new country category of “Hong Kong,” and not the existing category of “China.” The Web organization hints at and confirms that Apple intends to open additional stores in the city. In fact, tipsters say a store will open next year at the Hysan Place development on Hong Kong island, about two miles east of the new IFC Mall store.
The IFC Mall store will have a unique two-level design. The rear wall of both levels are glass windows looking out towards the city. On the inside, the lower level has two wide stainless steel walls, with a visitor entrance in the middle. The walls include back-lit display cases promoting Apple’s products. The upper level has an all-glass front window visible from the mall hallway. A spiral glass staircase connects the two levels in the middle of the store space. The storefront is trimmed in stainless steel, including the support columns for the upper level.
The store space is rather shallow, but very wide—about 35 feet deep by 90 feet wide. This may explain why the lower level has a solid front wall—it provides more wall space for product displays, which a glass window would not provide. Overall, the public store space could total up to 8,100 square-feet.
Apple has traditionally organized its retail stores by country, including its Web pages. But instead of including Hong Kong under the existing China category, Apple has created a new category for “Hong Kong,” with the IFC Mall store listed under it. Hong Kong is considered a “city-state,” but officially is a Special Administrative Region of China, which has sovereignty over the city. Despite Hong Kong’s links with China, it enjoys a degree of autonomy from the Chinese government that allows international business and commerce.