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Apple's Cook opens new store in Shanghai to large crowds as China sales fall

By Brenda Goh

SHANGHAI (Reuters) -Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday opened Apple's newest store in Shanghai in front of a large crowd, some of whom had queued overnight.

Cook, who arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday, opened the store's doors and flashed a victory sign with his fingers before greeting the first few customers who had started waiting outside the day before.

The new store, which faces Shanghai's historic Jing'an Temple, is Apple's 57th in China and its eighth in the Chinese financial hub. It is also the company's second-largest flagship store after its Fifth Avenue outlet in New York city.

Its opening comes as Apple battles falling iPhone sales in China and rising competition from domestic rivals such as Huawei. Apple's iPhone sales in China fell 24% year-on-year in the first six weeks of this year, according to consultancy estimates.

Cook, who was accompanied by Deidre O'Brien, Apple's senior vice president of retail and people, did not make any public remarks at the store. The store opening drew hundreds of people, with Chinese police stepping in to manage the crowd.

He spoke to local media outlets on Wednesday, who said he met with Apple's Chinese suppliers including Wang Chuanfu, founder and president of BYD, whose electronics arm supplies components to the U.S. firm.

Cook is expected to travel next to Beijing to attend the China Development Forum, a gathering of foreign CEOs with top Chinese policymakers.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; editing by Jason Neely, Elaine Hardcastle and David Evans)