Apple launches first retail store in Taiwan
Apple has continued its expansion into Asia with the opening of its first retail store in Taiwan, just days after the iPhone's 10th birthday.
Anticipation was rife as some fans queued up to 68 hours to be the first in the new stores according to Focus Taiwan; previously, customers had to make do with Apple's official website or third-party sellers in order to get their hands on the latest gadgets.
Situated in the Taipei 101 shopping center, Apple's first store opened at 11am, employs 130 staff and gave out 2,000 limited edition t-shirts to those who entered.
Asia has become the focus of Apple's expansion strategy, with this opening coming quickly after Singapore's first retail store opened back in May.
In addition to this, South Korea is also getting its own Apple retail store for the first time - construction should be complete in November, coming with the news that the tech giant has already begun advertising vacancies and hiring employees.
Currently, Apple is edging closer to 500 retail stores in total across 22 countries, with 271 of those based in the United States. They have been enormously successful with sales worth over $5,000 being made per square foot.
Whilst Apple's brick and mortar stores have continued to see increased success, the digital App Store is also pushing boundaries and generating revenue growth of 40% year-on-year.
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”