Apple’s Taiwan store opens; 1st visitor lines up for 68 hours

Taipei--Apple Inc., the U.S.-based consumer electronics brand, opened its first official store in Taiwan on Saturday, with the first visitor lining up for about 68 hours for the grand opening.

Before the first Apple official retail store opened in Taiwan at 11 a.m. in the Taipei 101 shopping center, the landmark building in the capital city, a U.S. tourist visiting Taipei who called himself Steve took the first spot in the line that grew to include thousands of people, eager to enter the Apple store.

Steve, 28, said that he started to stand in line with three of his friends, starting from around 3 p.m. on Wednesday. He brought his MacBook of the 2008 version to the store for repairing.

According to Apple, the official retail store doled out in about two hours about 2,000 T-shirts to celebrate the grand opening.

For crowd control, the new store, which has an area of about 400 pings (1,320 square meters) allowed about 50 people into the store every three minutes.

Steve said that the reason why he was willing to wait for so long for the opening of Taiwan's first Apple store was because he wanted to know how much time the repair work would take in an official Apple store.

Steve said that since he had spent such a long time standing in line, he was eager to get some sleep after sending his MacBook in for repair.

In June, Apple announced that it would open the first official Taiwan retail store in Taipei, with Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook saying on his Twitter page: "Here comes Apple Taipei 101, our first store in Taiwan!"

Cook even wrote in Chinese "????" which means "If you have time, please come and visit us."

The announcement pleased many fans of iPhones and iPads in Taiwan.

On its website, Apple said that Apple Taipei 101 is bringing a full range of Apple's products, services and in-store experiences to customers in Taiwan for the first time.

In addition, the U.S. consumer electronics giant said that the new Apple store will host new "Today at Apple" programs, including more than 60 free hands-on sessions designed for customers of all ages to try out their creative skills, such as photography and videography, art and design, music and coding.

The official Apple retail store has 130 well-trained staff to offer services, the company said.

Apple has opened almost 500 retail stores in 17 countries, including 270 in the United States and 225 in other countries since May 2001.

Before the Apple Taipei 101 store opened Saturday, the company authorized third parties to sell its products in Taiwan, while the U.S. firm also sold its products through its online platform.

Last month, Taiwan's first iPhone screen repair center authorized by Apple Inc. opened in Taipei to provide an easier way for customers to have their broken displays of Apple smartphones fixed.

Apple has authorized Senao International (??), a 3C distribution subsidiary of Chunghwa Telecom Co. (????), as a third-party repair center for iPhone screens. The authorized repair store installed Apple's proprietary iPhone-fixing Horizon Machine to handle customer services.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel