Last month, Steve Ballmer opened the newest Microsoft Store in Troy, Michigan, as the company continues to ramp up its physical retail presence. Microsoft Stores are a key part of the company's consumer strategy, offering a one-stop shop to view its entire portfolio of consumer-focused products, from Windows PCs to Windows Phones, Xbox and its own Surface tablets.
Speaking at the Windows Partner Conference today, Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner said that the company now has 75 locations across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, made up of 43 full-line stores, and 32 smaller 'specialty stores'.
But Microsoft is planning to significantly expand on that during its 2014 fiscal year (running from July 2013 to June 2014), with the addition of 26 new Microsoft Stores over the next twelve months, taking the total number to 101. Specifically, Turner revealed that multiple Microsoft Stores will also be launching in China.
Turner said that Microsoft is "really committed" to its Store program, adding his approval of the great job that its in-store teams do in "telling the Microsoft story"; He also said that the launch of retail centres in China is "very, very strategic to us".
Microsoft has become increasingly focused on the vast and fast-growing Chinese market, even launching a special localised version of its Surface Pro tablet there earlier this year. In January, the company's Greg Sullivan said that Windows Phones are "selling like hotcakes in China", while in May, it was reported that Microsoft is hiring thousands of new workers there to help boost Windows Phone and its cloud services.
Image via Microsoft WPC