With all the new store's opening up in China, I thought people might be interested in knowing what Apple's status is in Shanghai, where I've been living for several months. China, well more accurately Shanghai and Hong Kong, has a very large and rapidly growing middle and upper class that LOVES Apple products. I'm posting this from an consulting office full of entry-level Chinese workers right out of college, and almost everyone has an iPhone 4. Skilled wages are pretty good relative to the cost of living. Apple is deeply loved by the skilled labor force. Apple is, believe it or not, actually more popular here than in the US. You might think that iPhones must cost less here, or atleast cost the same. Both wrong. An iPhone 4 here actually costs MORE than in the US. Even with the much lower average income, convert the RMB price to $USD and it comes out about 25% more expensive. If that confuses you, you don't know Shanghai culture. People here spend TONS on luxury items. A huge portion of their income. So much money has flowed into this city in the past decade or so that is has affected people psychologically. There's a huge gap between the middle/upper and the poor, and because locally made products tend to be very cheap, the #1 status symbol is Western products, especially American. Everything from McDonalds (considered a medium quality restaurant here, even though local food is so much better) to designer clothes has a jacked up price because of the Western brand name. The income in many families here has skyrocketed as of late, but the cost of living has stayed low, so people blow their cash on Apple products. If your wondering why Apple stores in China have so many more employees, (the newly opened East Nanjing Road superstore has 300 employees) it is because unskilled labor jobs like Apple store employee make almost NOTHING here. That's why they can afford to hire so many. Labor here is extraordinarily cheap. For example, its considered unusual here to not have someone come clean your house for you, even in middle-lower income households. Department stores have staffed demonstration counters for almost every product. Virtually every restaurant in the city has delivery, even McDonalds. And just generally for people who don't know whats going on in China, Shanghai is so rich it takes weeks for the shock to wear off. From the amazing restaurants, to the lavish bars and nightclubs, to the constant sight of Ferrari's and Porsche's, to the grand party's almost every night ( I went to one with Dwayne Wade a few weeks ago), this city is the Mecca of consumer culture. To call it communist is hilarious. However, travel too far from Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Beijing (which is the poorest of the 3 by far) and you enter a truly 3rd world country. People say China is the future, but the country is only tenuously held together. Now is China's chance to take control of the world, but their success is far from guaranteed. No matter what, Apple has a massive market here, and at the moment it is dominating. I have honestly not seen a single Android phone or Kindle since I got here, but I see iPhones and iPads constantly. There is a reason so many fake stores have opened.