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Apple executives have made no secret of their ambitions for China, and this week they've launched a new weapon to lure buyers in that populous country: An official online store alongside other global brands such as Nike and Gap.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Apple is now one of the many international brand names to have an official presence on Tmall, a Chinese online marketplace launched in 2008 by that country's e-commerce heavyweight, Alibaba.
The online shopping portal is already home to more than 70,000 merchants, including top global brands like Apple that are vying for Chinese customers. The new Apple Tmall is said to sport a design similar to that of Cupertino's own online store in China, but will likely attract shoppers who might not otherwise find Apple on their own.
Alibaba owns two such massive online storefronts in China, with Taobao the largest of the pair at more than seven million merchants and a whopping 800 million items listed. The report notes that Taobao is more of a bargain hunter's paradise, while Tmall is effectively an online shopping mall with virtual shelves stocked by well-known international brands.
An Alibaba spokeswoman confirmed that Apple's Tmall store was indeed legitimate, although Cupertino has yet to comment one way or another. It's uncertain how long the online store has been open, with the spokeswoman confirming only that it "opened recently."
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