Apple has released a new ad in China ahead of the Chinese New Year, 9to5Mac reports, as part of an expansion effort in the country.
The ad follows a similar storyline to the popular “The Song” advert released in the west over Christmas. In it, a young woman uses her Apple products to record an old song for an elderly relative, which they listen to using an iPad. It’s not on YouTube yet, but you can view it on Apple’s China website here.
The advert, custom-made for China, is a clear sign of Apple’s ongoing strong push to expand its presence in the country. It’s an increasingly important market for the Cupertino company. Analysts believe that for the first time, Apple is selling more iPhones in the country than in the United States — its home market. And it’s a developing country, meaning the potential customer base in China is going to grow rapidly in the years to come.
To this end, the company is building multiple new retail stores in the country. It is opening five stores in China in as many weeks, and there are plans for at least 40 in the country by the end of 2016. As part of this effort, Senior Vice President of Retail Angela Ahrendts is encouraging US-based Apple Store employees to relocate to China to aid with expansion. “[The offer] has no expiration date because as the business grows, our needs will only become greater, Ahrendts said. “So as your personal and professional life changes, just keep China at the top of your mind, because we’re going to need you.” According to a 9to5Mac report, more than 200 have already agreed to make the move.
Here’s a sign of just how well Apple is doing in China: Its products are now considered the top luxury gifts in the country. They’re ahead of the likes of Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci and Chanel.
But Apple’s Chinese expansion isn’t without difficulties. Its main rival in the country, Xiaomi, is going from strength to strength. Xiaomi is the most valuable startup in the world, and almost uniquely for an Android manufacturer, it has a fanbase passionate enough to match Apple’s own. It’s previously been derided for appearing to “steal” Apple’s designs, but is now branching out. Its latest model, the Mi Note, sold out in just three minutes, and the company is now running ads directly targeting Apple.
On the regulatory front, Apple is also facing hurdles. The company has already had to agree to “security audits” of its products, and China is now introducing strict new regulations for foreign tech companies wanting to do business in the country. Critics have decried the measures as deliberately protectionist.
Here’s the original “The Song” advert the new China ad is based on: