10 Signs That Shanghai Is Embracing The Mobility Craze

Mobile Nation

Shanghai, China has always been one of China's most progressive cities, and this is especially true when it comes to the adoption of mobile technology. HP chose Shanghai as the backdrop for launching its new line of Ultrabooks, in a teeming metropolis of more than 13 million where Apple and Samsung products are all the rage.

CRN recently explored the bustling boulevards and busy side streets of Shanghai, searching for symbols that illustrate the city's love affair with mobile computing. Here we offer up 10 telling examples of where things stand today.

Shanghai's First Apple Store

The Apple Store in Shanghai's Pudong district, located in the shadow of some of the world's tallest skyscrapers, was the city's first, opening its doors in 2010. It's similar in design to Apple's Fifth Avenue store in New York City and attracts similarly huge throngs of customers. It's pictured here around 10 a.m., just after opening for the day.

Samsung Holds The Smartphone Lead In China

Samsung has been moving aggressively into China, and this is paying off: The company currently holds around 24 percent of the local smartphone market, compared to 7.5 percent for Apple, according to recent figures from Gartner. Samsung, which recently overtook Nokia for the top spot in global mobile device sales, is looking to solidify its lead by extending sales and distribution networks into other, smaller Chinese markets, the Financial Times reported recently.

HP's Strategy For The Chinese PC Market

Lenovo dominates China's PC market, but HP believes that bringing products to market that are specifically tailored to the needs of Chinese consumers could change that. HP faces a tough climb, though: According to IDC's February market share figures, HP held just 5.3 percent of the Chinese PC market, trailing Lenovo (35.5 percent), Acer (9.5 percent), Dell (9.4 percent) and Asus (5.7 percent).

Popular Attraction

Shoppers learn about the features and functionality of Apple's iPhone 4S at the company's store on bustling East Nanjing Road, one of Shanghai's three Apple stores.

iPhone Mania

China is going crazy over Apple products -- one local promotional campaign for the iPod Touch boldly proclaims, "If You Don't Have One, You're A Loser" -- and the iPhone 4S is right there at the epicenter of consumers' desire. Which is surprising considering that China Mobile, the country's largest carrier with some 655 million subscribers, does not yet offer it.

Apple's brand recognition is so strong in Shanghai, retailers try to draw people in with the mere suggestion that Apple products might be available in their stores. Case in point: This promotional placard for the iPhone 4S, displayed at a Shanghai mall, seems ordinary until one realizes that the iPhone is not actually for sale at this location.

Shanghai's Third Apple Store

This Apple store, in Shanghai's Luwan district, is situated in a glitzy shopping area that is roughly a 10 minute walk from the Museum of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, regarded as the birthplace of Communism in China. On this Sunday afternoon, shoppers jostled in to get their hands on the iPhone 4S.

Looking To The Future

The most salient theme from HP's Global Influencer Summit was that HP understands the Chinese market extremely well and is dedicated to serving the needs of local PC buyers. HP has its work cut out for it when it comes to building PC market share, but the company, which opened up shop in China in 1985 and has an R&D center in Shanghai for printers and PCs, believes it can achieve this goal.

"We could have done this launch from any location in the world, but we chose to do it in China," Whitman told a crowd of about 500 local and international media at the Shanghai Exhibition Center. "This reinforces China's position as a top technology area and our dedication to China."

Apple Resellers Abound

Apple has three official stores in Shanghai, and dozens of others that claim to be "authorized" Apple resellers, though it is clear in some of these cases that this link is a spurious one. Some computer repair shops have been known to slap an Apple logo on their signage just to draw interest from passersby, in what could constitute an alternative interpretation of the Apple "halo effect."

Apple Experience Center

An "Apple Experience Center" occupies the same floor space at a Shanghai mall as Samsung, Acer, Asus, Canon, Sony and a host of other consumer electronics companies.

To HP, Asia Matters

"Asia Matters" was the theme of an HP-hosted soiree in Shanghai during the Global Influencer Summit, a reflection of the strategic importance HP places on what is now the world's largest PC market.

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