While residents of the birthplace of the iPad have been waiting, somewhat impatiently, for an official release, Apple has been on the hunt for new locations to open retail stores in more cities in China.
Reuters has reported that the tech giant has filed official documents to the Chinese government for two brick-and-mortars in Chengdu and Shenzhen.
Currently, Apple only has five retail stores in all of Mainland China, three in Shanghai and two in Beijing. Research has shown that Apple products are particularly popular in that area, surpassing the U.S. to become the biggest market for free application downloads in the world. The company also reported a spike in iPhone sales this past quarter, particularly in the greater China region.
Apple has had a tumultuous relationship with China this year. Due to a complicated lawsuit brought on by Proview Technologies, who claims to still own the rights to the name, the iPad has not been officially launched in the country. The two are currently participating in court-mediated negotiations.
Unauthorized resellers of the iPad has grown recently and there have even been reports of fake Apple stores that were so convincing that even employees thought they were working for the company.
According to Reuters, Apple submitted documents on Monday to the Shenzhen government to open a store in Holiday Plaza, an upscale mall in the Nanshan district. Shenzhen is the home of Apple’s biggest manufacturing partner, Foxconn. An official for the Market Supervision Administration said that Apple is in the final stages of approval for the new store.
Additionally, Apple recently received approval to set up a business unit to handle retail sales and after-sales service in Chengdu.
Apple has not made any official statement in this matter. However, the company’s China website has job listings for sales staff in Shenzhen and Chengdu.