China will soon have Apple stores-report

China may be about to see the opening of its first official Apple Store as the firm prepares to launch the iPhone in the country, local media reports said.

Apple currently distributes its products in China through a network of several hundred licensed dealers. Some other products, such as the original iPhone, are widely available as unofficial grey market imports.

An Apple dealer in Beijing told local news service Sina that Apple plans to open a 1,000 square metre store on three floors in a central Beijing shopping centre and office development.

While the dealer did not provide an opening date, other businesses in the new building are expected to open during July and August.

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said in interviews this week that he expects the iPhone to become available in China and Russia this year.