Apple will open a retail store in Beijing on July 19, stepping up its presence in China three weeks before the start of the Summer Olympic Games. But don't expect to see the iPhone 3G make an appearance in Beijing -- Apple has yet to sign a Chinese distributor for the iPhone and the country still doesn't have commercial 3G (third-generation) mobile services.
The Beijing Apple store is the company's first in China, and will open just in time for the expected influx of visitors for the Olympic Games.
The Apple store is located in Sanlitun, formerly a quiet, leafy neighborhood adjacent to one of the city's diplomatic quarters. In recent years, Sanlitun turned into a lively -- and often rowdy -- nightlife district known by locals as "Bar Street." As part of preparations for the Olympics, Beijing authorities worked to spruce up the neighborhood, driving out the drug dealers that often approached foreigners on the street and knocking down apartment blocks to clear the way for a new shopping center.
Like other Apple stores, the Beijing store will give Chinese consumers a chance to try out Apple products or seek help from company representatives at the shop's Genius Bar. The store will also host events aimed at bringing potential customers into the store.
The first of these events, an appearance by Chinese singer Zhang Yadong, is scheduled for July 21.