Considering the iPad has not officially arrived in China yet, Apple have wasted no time putting in place twelve rounded glass panels standing over 12.5 meter (41 feet) to create the cylindrical dome. The Apple logo is suspended above a glass stairway that corkscrews into the underground retail space. Is this the most high-tech Apple store to date? As Apple embarks on a major China retail expansion, not least of the reasons for it to source locally is the nation’s tax of up to 30% on certain glass imports. And of course, China already has a role making its iPhone and iPad.
The glassmaking industry in China is no slouch, from the early 1990s China had overtaken the U.S. in flat glass production and last year it’s output topped 28.7 million-ton – that’s six time Nick Limb the Managing Partner at Ducker Worldwide estimate for 2009 of U.S. shipments.
Trends in glass underscore a broader shift for the world’s new No. 2 economy. Moving beyond cheap-for-export manufacturing and strengthened by domestic growth, Chinese companies increasingly compete in sophisticated, capital-intensive global businesses.
North Glass Safety Glass Co. in Beijing got the nod for Shanghai after cutting its teeth on less complex Apple store projects in New York and Beijing. With less than 62 pieces of glass, this project still took 12 months to complete. The complexity: ultra-clear, tempered, scratch-, stain- and bubble-free glass panels, six layers thick, 12.563 meters tall and 2.578 meters wide.
Beautiful At Night
A DuPont Co. division supplied glass-strengthening materials to the Apple project. Some shop glass came from Shandong Jin Jing Technology Co., which has worked with PPG and is also producing blast-resistant windows for One World Trade Center, New York’s newest and tallest skyscraper.
Special cranes lifted the glass panels in place, and Apple’s store opened to overflow crowds on July 7.