SINGAPORE -- Apple threw open the doors here Thursday to its first-ever Apple Store that sits directly on water, making a long-term bet on the city's power to attract tourists.
Looking like a sphere floating in Marina Bay, the shop offers panoramic views of the waterfront through its mostly glass walls. Below the surface is a so-called boardroom where meetings with corporate clients and developers can be held.
This is Singapore's third Apple Store, following locations in the Orchard Road commercial district and Changi Airport. The only other locations in Southeast Asia are the two in Bangkok.
Singapore remains mostly closed to foreign tourists as the pandemic drags on, leaving the Marina Bay area nearly deserted. Opening the floating Apple Store at this stage is part of a "long-term plan," according to a person familiar with the matter.
By concentrating heavily in Singapore, Apple looks to draw tourists from Southeast Asia and China. The staff at the latest Apple Store can provide customer service in 23 languages.
The Apple Store on Thursday allowed in only a limited number of customers who reserved a spot online.
"I want to buy new products here like the iPhone 12 that I hear is coming soon," said a bank worker in his 30s who waited for the store to open.