iPad 2 line at Apple's Sanlitun retail store in Beijing
Apple yesterday launched the iPad 2 in China, officially bringing its six Wi-Fi capable models (three black and three white) to the country for the first time. M.I.C gadget has an extensive gallery of photos from the launch at Apple's Sanlitun retail store in Beijing, where hundreds of customers waited in line for the 8:00 AM launch and supplies sold out in just four hours.
Final staff briefing before launching the iPad 2 at Sanlitun retail store
Apple also launched sales through its online store in China, debuting with shipping estimates of 1-2 weeks. But even those supplies quickly dried up and the company's online store has stopped taking orders for all six models of the device, simply noting "no supply" as a shipping estimate.
Preparing to open the doors at Sanlitun retail store
Pricing for the new Wi-Fi iPad 2 models in China is set approximately 15% higher than in the United States, with 16 GB models coming in at 3,688 yuan ($568), 32 GB models at 4,488 yuan ($691), and 64 GB models at 5,288 yuan ($814).
Apple has placed considerable focus on building out its presence in China, with the company's four retail stores in the country ranking as the highest-grossing locations in the company's chain of over 300 stores. The company publicly stated in early 2010 that it planned to open up to 25 retail stores in China over the following two years, although the company has reportedly scaled back on the planned number and slowed the development slightly as it has shifted its strategy toward larger, more iconic stores.
Last October, the company opened a Chinese version of its online store as well as a Chinese-language edition of the App Store.