Apple is expected to open 25 new stores across China in the next two years as part of a strong push into the country. Now, it looks like the first five may arrive by this time next month.
Speaking to China’s state run news agency Xinhua, Apple’s head of retail Angela Ahrendts revealed the company’s immediate plans for expansion. The first new store is set to open near Shanghai on Jan. 24, followed by four more before the Chinese New Year on Feb. 19. That will bring the total number of Apple Stores in China up to an even 20.
Ahrendts also noted that four of the five stores are opening in cities where Apple doesn’t already have a presence. She would’t reveal the company’s specifics plans, though Cupertino currently has job listings posted online for retail positions in 15 different locations that would fit the bill.
Apple’s biggest challenger in China may be Xiaomi, a local company that’s built up a massive fan base through online sales and flashy press events, along with other home-grown competitors. Opening physical stores may give the iPhone-maker an edge, though that’s still only part of its strategy.
“The fastest growing store for us is the Apple Online Store in China,” Ahrendts said.