Apple fans in Southeast Asia lined up in a long queue for hours just to be among the first people to enter and experience the region’s first Apple store in Singapore.
Eager consumers showed up outside Knightsbridge Mall on Orchard Road at around 5 p.m. the previous day.
According to Mashable, there were also those who came to the city’s affluent retail center as early as 5 a.m. on opening day, five hours ahead of the official 10 a.m. opening.
Among the early crowd was Khajorn Chiaranaipanich, who came all the way from Thailand to witness the opening of the Apple store on Orchard Road, the brand’s ninth international high-profile Apple Store.
Chiaranaipanich, a managing director at a Thai social news company, told Mashable that he had been waiting in line since 5 a.m. that day, five whole hours before the store officially opened.
“It’s the first Apple store in Southeast Asia, so it’s very important for Thai people,” Chiaranaipanich told Mashable. “If they build an Apple Store here, it means that they’re building something for us in Southeast Asia. The next market could be Thailand or Indonesia or something like that.”
Chinese graduate student Yang Chen, who flew in from Xiamen, was equally excited. The 28-year-old arrived at Orchard Road at around 8 p.m. the previous day.
“We were going to start school [in Singapore], and when we heard that the Apple Store was opening, we wanted to be here,” said Yang Chen.
To welcome the first few customers, the store staff gave away gray shirts with the Apple logo, a heart shape and a red dot which symbolizes Singapore.
Singaporean Reyazuddin Shaik explained why he just had to be there on the store’s opening day:
“We’ve been waiting for this store for so long… being at an Apple Store is a different experience. It’s not like going to an Apple authorized sale center. It’s very lovely to be here, it’s like a shrine for Apple fans,” Shaik was quoted as saying.
Apple Orchard Road opens at a time when Apple faces stiff competition in the region with Asian brands Xiaomi, Oppo, and Samsung. Aside from Singapore, Apple’s other Asian shops are located in Hong Kong, China, and Japan.