Asia-Pacific News

Rumors abound of Apple's first Singapore store

Singapore's first Apple store

Could Singapore get its own Apple store? A fitness chain seems to think so.

Pure Fitness, a members-only gym in a luxury mall called Knightsbridge, said on Monday that the gym would close its branch on 15 December. The statement added that Pure Fitness and other tenants would be "handing back space to make way for the opening of a new Apple store in late 2016."

In an email sent to affected gym members, Pure Fitness, which is part of the Pure Group, also noted its regret for giving members "short notice" and promised to minimize disruptions.

"We had been informed by Knightsbridge management that we would need to vacate the space because Apple would be the main anchor tenant," said Hannah Yang, marketing manager of Pure Group, to CNBC in a phone interview.

"[Pure Group] was notified by Knightsbridge management really late, around mid-October," added Yang.

Owned by Park Hotel Group, Knightsbridge is a four-storey mall located at a busy intersection on Orchard Road, Singapore's famous shopping district. Its tenants include upmarket brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch and luxury watch retailer The Hour Glass.

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An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on whether a flagship store would open in Singapore. Apple has several authorized Apple resellers in Singapore, including Challenger, Harvey Norman and Epicentre. Asia's only Apple flagship stores are in Japan, Hong Kong and China.

But the choice of location may be considered unusual, because Samsung, Apple's fiercest smartphone rival, advertises on the facade of Knightsbridge on one of Orchard Road's largest LED screens.

A Knightsbridge spokesperson confirmed that Samsung has been the LED board's longest tenant, with no date for the end of the advertising contract.

The LED screen is a massive 450 square meters with "unrivaled visibility and exposure" for the high pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the area, according to Knightsbridge's website.

Apple has been expanding its business presence in Singapore, which is a regional headquarters for some of the tech giant's functions. The Business Times reported in March that Apple signed an office lease for 35,000 square feet with CapitaGreen, a building in Singapore's financial district.