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Apple's China expansion in retail seeks hires in six new cities

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Apple Inc., aiming to more than double its stores in China, is advertising openings for retail workers in six cities where it currently doesn't have any shops.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Apple Inc., aiming to more than double its stores in China, is advertising openings for retail workers in six cities where it currently doesn't have any shops.

The Cupertino, California-based company is recruiting for store workers in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Tianjin, Nanjing and Dalian, advertisements posted on Thursday on the company's website showed. Amy Bessette, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment beyond saying, "We haven't announced stores in those areas."

The push is part of Apple's efforts to move beyond Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, where the company already has the bulk of its China stores. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has said he expects China will eventually overtake the U.S. to become its largest market. The company doubled iPhone unit sales in mainland China in the final three months of last year.

"When I look at China, I see an enormous market where there are more people graduating into the middle class than any nation on Earth in history, and just an incredible market where people want the latest technology and products that we're providing," Cook told analysts during an October conference call. "And so we're investing like crazy in the market."

Apple has said it plans to open 25 more stores in Greater China by mid-2016, including five before next month's Lunar New Year holiday. Apple ended last year with 15 stores in mainland China and Hong Kong, according to its website.

Two new ones have since opened in Zhengzhou and Hangzhou, and a second Chongqing location is set to open Jan. 31. While Apple hasn't said where the final two stores will be located, it began looking for store managers for Tianjin and Shenyang in June.

Apple opened its first China store in Beijing's Sanlitun district in 2008 and added others in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuxi, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

Apple struck a deal in 2013 to sell the iPhone through China Mobile Ltd., the world's largest wireless carrier by users, and has been selling the smartphone through China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. since 2009 and China Telecom Corp. since 2012.

Revenue from Greater China has some way to go before it's the largest region. The Americas and Europe currently lead in total revenue.

Apple's strong results in China helped boost profit by 38 per cent in the December quarter, the company reported on Tuesday.

IPhone unit sales worldwide climbed 46 per cent to 74.5 million, the company said in a statement.

Apple has 265 stores in the U.S. with 30,000 employees, according to the company's website.

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