Apple is opening stores in the China region at one-fourth the pace it predicted 19 months ago, “giving rival makers of smartphones and tablet computers time to gain users in the world’s biggest mobile-phone market,” says “Bloomberg Businessweek” (

Apple opened its third store in Shanghai Friday and will open its first one in Hong Kong Saturday bringing the total to six in the region. That compares with the 25 stores slated to open by February 2012 that Ron Johnson, then Apple’s head of retail, said last year.

Delays in store openings may give makers of smartphones and tablets equipped with Google’s Android software room to gain market share, Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group, told “Bloomberg Businessweek.”