Apple Inc will open its second flagship store in China, in the heart of Shanghai's financial district on Saturday (July 10), the company said on Thursday (July 8).

The retail outlet, featuring a 40-foot glass cylindrical wall, is located near Shanghai's famous Oriental Pearl Tower.

"We are thrilled to open the first of many new stores in China in this incredible location," said Ron Johnson, Apple's SVP of retail.

The company opened its first China store in 2008 in Beijing. Apple products are currently sold in China through resellers. This is the company's second direct-selling outlet.

Apple competes in an extremely price-conscious market. Due to the long lead time for Apple to bring products to China, consumers often turn to the gray market for smuggled Apple goods or buy pirated versions.

Lenovo Group chairman Liu Chuanzhi was quoted as saying earlier this month that Apple was missing out on the opportunity to further expand in China.

China Unicom is the only mobile operator to sell the iPhone in China, although rivals such as China Mobile have previously expressed interest in offering the smartphone.

Apple is on track to have 25 retail outlets in the country by the end of next year. Apple executives said in April that they saw the Chinese market as a major growth opportunity.

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