Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is diving further into the Chinese market after opening up an official store on Tmall.com, reports The Wall Street Journal. Tmall is one of China’s biggest online marketplaces, and it’s owned by Alibaba Group, which is the biggest ecommerce website in China.

Apple China

Apple joins China’s “online department store”

The Tmall page created by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is virtually identical to the Chinese version of its own Online Apple Store. Of course the main differences are some links to the payments system for the Tmall marketplace and, according to Apple Insider, some minor differences in the code.

Tmall is billed as being a sort of “online department store” for China. As a result, the site’s business model is different than that of major U.S. marketplaces like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) or eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY). Tmall charges companies which open stores on its site a deposit and also an annual service fee and sales commissions. Global brands and bigger merchants are more likely to open Tmall stores.

Expectations for Apple in China running high

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone officially becomes available (without a preorder) for purchase on China Mobile’s network in a little over a week, and investors and analysts will be expecting a lot out of the company in China. Most analysts agree that the launch on China Mobile will give Apple a boost in China. Also by launching a Tmall site, Apple may have access to even more Chinese consumers who do not live anywhere near a retailer which sells the iPhone.

Apple is also targeting Chinese consumers with its Red Friday promotion, which is scheduled for this week. This is a yearly discount event right before the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations. At this point, Apple hasn’t said what kinds of discounts it will be offering on Red Friday. It does, however, say that the promotions will be offered in China, Singapore and Hong Kong.