Apple, the maker of iPhones and iPads, opened an online store Tuesday on tmall.com, China's largest business-to-consumer online marketplace.
The store on Tmall was launched by Apple on Tuesday, providing an online selling platform in addition to the company's online store, a customer service staffer with the online store said Tuesday.
The layout looks similar to Apple's official online store for China, except for the logos and additional information of Tmall.
The price tags for Apple products on the Tmall store are exactly the same as those on Apple's online store. It remains unknown whether special discounts will be offered on days such as November 11, known as Singles' Day in China - similar to the Black Friday shopping bonanza in the US, according to the customer service staff member.
There has been no official announcement from Apple, and the Global Times could not reach Apple for comment by press time on Tuesday.
Yan Qiao, Tmall's PR director, confirmed to the Global Times on Tuesday about the launch of the Tmall store by Apple.
The move came a few days after Apple unveiled its long-rumored deal with China Mobile, the world's largest telecom operator by subscribers, which analysts believe will serve to prop up Apple's market share in the country, where the US mobile gadget maker was losing ground to not only its nearest rival Samsung, but also an array of cheaper Chinese brands.
"With the Tmall store, Apple is set to embrace a broader customer base, as top online marketplaces have picked up steam in the country as an alternative to brick-and-mortar outlets," Wang Jun, an industry analyst with Beijing-based Analysys International, told the Global Times Tuesday.
Handsets sold online in the market are estimated to represent 11 percent of the total in 2013, according to sales monitoring data from market research firm GfK China.
But Wang noted "the new store is unlikely to give a big impetus to Apple's sales in the market."
Only revolutionary new products from the company are likely to ignite the flame of consumers' buying passion, he commented.