Tripling down

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By MASI and OUYANG SHIJIA Con­tact the writ­ers through masi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Mi­crosoft plans to in­crease stores on main­land to 400 in 2 years

Mi­crosoft Corp plans to triple the num­ber of its fran­chised stores in China to 400in two years, as the United States tech gi­ant steps up ef­forts to boost the sales of its con­sumer elec­tron­ics prod­ucts.

The plan came shortly af­ter the firm un­veiled a new all-in­one desk­top per­sonal com­puter on Wed­nes­day, to tar­get creative pro­fes­sion­als and con­sumers.

Isa­iah Che­ung, vice-pres­i­dent at Mi­crosoft Greater China, said China is the sec­ond big­gest mar­ket for its Sur­face lineup, only af­ter the United States.

“The av­er­age price Chi­nese con­sumers pay is go­ing up. We be­lieve China will over­take the US as our largest mar­ket one day,” Che­ung said.

In the lat­est quar­ter end­ing in Septem­ber, Sur­face rev­enue hit $926 mil­lion, up 38 per­cent year-on-year.

In the same time frame, the China mar­ket was also grow­ing rapidly, Che­ung said. Cur­rently, the firm has 115 fran­chised stores in the Chi­nese main­land and has es­tab­lished closer part­ner­ships with ma­jor re­tail chains such as Sun­ing Com­merce Group Co Ltd.

The firm is also plan­ning to open its first China Mi­crosoft store, a store owned and op­er­ated by Mi­crosoft it­self, as an in­creas­ing num­ber of con­sumers are grav­i­tated to­ward its prod­ucts.

“We are look­ing for the proper tim­ing and lo­ca­tion to open the store. Af­ter all, we don’t have to worry about its rev­enue now, given the strong sales per­for­mance in China,” Che­ung said.

Sur­face Stu­dio, the new PC un­veiled on Wed­nes­day, comes with a 28-inch dis­play with what Mi­crosoft says is the thinnest LCD screen ever. It is priced at $2,999 in the United States.

The Win­dows 10 up­date, which will be rolled out in the spring, en­ables con­sumers to in­vent and share 3D-ob­jects.

On Thurs­day, Ap­ple Inc also un­veiled a new Macbook Pro, seek­ing to ex­pand its share in the PC mar­ket.

Zhao Xiaolei, an an­a­lyst at In­ter­na­tional Data Corp, said Mi­crosoft hopes to set the trend of what fu­ture all-in-one desk­top PCs should look like so that other PC man­u­fac­tur­ers can fol­low.

Cur­rently, the best-sell­ing Sur­face prod­ucts in China are its tablet-PC hy­brids.

AFP

Jour­nal­ists and Mi­crosoft fans get a look at the new Mi­crosoft Sur­face Stu­dio in­tro­duced at a Mi­crosoft news con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day in New York.

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