The following article is a guest article composed by Mad-Mongolia.com.
While most of the “Apple fan boys” in the world jitter with the anticipation of the upcoming and improved line of MacBook Pro’s, Mongolia’s Apple aficionados have other reasons to celebrate.
An official Apple store has, at long last, opened its doors in what is known as the world’s coldest capital: Ulaanbaatar.
While the traditionally enthusiastic, nearly hysteric, throng of people normally present to celebrate the opening of an Apple shop, was strangely absent it can never the less be considered a momentous event in both the Mongolian geek calendar as well as an indication of Apple’s expanding interest in Asian markets.
The opening of an Apple shop in Mongolia is something of a leap of faith within a country of less than 3 million people that still ranks as one of the poorest in the world. However, despite its apparent poverty, Mongolia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, propelled largely by its enormous mineral reserves and its close proximity to the insatiable Chinese economy.
Mongolia’s consumer environment is developing apace. In 2010 Louis Vuitton opened a store in the overlooking the vast central public space of Ulaanbaatar, Sukhbaatar Square. The chic storefront looks out across at the statue of revolutionary hero Sukhbaatar, this juxtaposition indicative of the changes occurring in the Mongolian capital.
Since then luxury brands of all kinds have begun to vie for space on one of the city’s main avenues; Cartier, Dior, Shangri-La, Hilton, Boss, Mont Blanc, BMW and Benetton have all set up shop with many more international brands reconnoitring the city’s prime retail territory. It is only logical that Apple is keen to be present in the early stages of this incredible development story.
Until now Apple products have only been available in Mongolia in the form of imports brought by individuals from the US or China. Prices were excessive, often double if not triple the official Apple retail prices. The latest models were often entirely unobtainable. Bodi Electronics, an arm of the giant conglomerate Mongolian Bodi Group has obtained the sole and coveted status of authorized Apple retailer for Mongolia.
Other retailers such as Nomin and MCS, who until now profited handsomely from the lack of official Apple representation in Mongolia, will likely be forced to lower their prices considerably if they hope to compete in the same market as the — official — Apple Store.
The Bodi Electronics Apple Retail Store will officially open its doors on the 1st of March 2011, but has been open for business since the 21st of February. M.A.D. Corporate Services was its first customers, purchasing one of the new Mac minis as well as a 27inch Cinema Display. It carries the full range of Apple products but does not currently stock iPads as they prefer to wait for the rumoured update. iPhones are also off the wish-list as there are currently no carrier arrangements in Mongolia.
Getting to Know the 1st Ulaanbaatar Apple Store
The Apple Store is not in the very centre of Ulaanbaatar but still within walking distance of Sukbaatar square (20 minutes). The store is within the Golomt Towers, a set of 5 tall and iconic towers to the West of central Ulaanbaatar. It is on the ground floor, with its entrance door next to the Torgo Fashion Shop.
The shop is open from 9am until 7pm daily with shorter opening times on Sundays (to be confirmed).
All the staff speaks excellent English and will be able to assist you with the basics of operating a mac or other apple products, there is as of yet no “genius bar” in the shop but it is rumoured to be planned for the second shop.
The shop supplies itself by plane from the Singapore Apple shops and is thus expected to have overall similar product lines and timed releases as Singapore.
Bodi Electronics is rumoured to be planning the opening of a second Apple retail store closer to the city centre, in all probability within the Bodi Tower on Sukhbaatar Square or the Central Tower.