Apple to open the first Apple Store in Bangkok

Apple is getting ready to open its first Apple Store in the iPhone-obsessed Big Mango on November 10 with a spacious location in the new Iconsiam luxury mall on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River, touting that the store will serve as a creative space for people to share ideas.

“Apple Iconsiam on the Chao Phraya River will be the centerpiece for people to exchange ideas, learn and create new things together. Here will be a place to inspire and spark creative ideas for the people in the community. We have prepared many interesting activities for you,’’ Apple said on its website, while also inviting schools to stage field trips to the new store.

The Bangkok Apple Store will open during the same month as Apple’s new flagship store on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, reflecting the rising importance of Thailand and Southeast Asia as a market for the company. Apple even designed a new logo for use in Thailand, combining its classic outline of an apple with the Thai letter “aor ang,” which is used to spell the Thai word for an apple.

The company already has nearly two dozen stores run by official resellers in Bangkok, where Apple products, especially iPhones, appear to be ubiquitous among Thailand’s younger generation. The company’s products can also be bought online in Thailand through its website.

Apple is facing stiffer competition in the smartphone market, however, from new Chinese models because of their far lower prices. A new iPhone is still considered, however, a local status symbol. The company does not release sales figures specifically for Thailand, but despite Apple’s popularity among younger Thais, its products hold a relatively small market share throughout the country overall because of their high prices.

“With its devices accounting for a minor share of the region’s markets, primarily due to pricing and a lack of carrier subsidies, it makes sense that Apple is stepping up its retail focus,’’ the Techcrunch website wrote last week.

Techcrunch reports that Southeast Asia is one of the few regions in the world where smartphone sales continue to grow at double-digit percentages. The website said that Southeast Asia has more internet users than the population of the United States.

Bangkok is the second location in Southeast Asia after Singapore where Apple has opened an official store. Techcrunch reported that Apple is considering opening stores in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta and Viet Nam.

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