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Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Apple opens its first stores in Arab world in the Emirates

Apple opened its first retail stores in the Arab world on Thursday in the luxury malls of the United Arab Emirates, hoping to sell wealthy consumers on their new high-end smartwatches.

Apple's two new stores, at Dubai's Mall of the Emirates and Abu Dhabi's Yas Mall, find themselves alongside other global luxury brands like Emporio Armani, Fendi and Burberry. And that's no accident, industry watchers say, as Apple wants to give wealthy consumers hands-on experience with its new Apple Watch line, with some of the high-tech timepieces costing as much as $17,000.

"Apple is trying to position itself, with the watch in particular, as a fashion brand — and a premium...