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China Has Grown Into an 'Incredible Market' for Apple

Sales are up 70 percent year over year.


How much does Apple love China? Let us count the ways.

China accounted for more than $16.1 billion in sales over the holiday quarter — or $1 out of every $5 Apple pocketed in revenue. Sales in China are growing faster than anywhere else on the globe, up 70 percent over the same time a year ago.

The introduction of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, delayed until last October, was met with an enthusiastic response in the world’s most populous country. Apple didn’t say how many iPhone 6s it sold versus the larger 6 Plus, but it’s very likely that the bigger version helped to attract more buyers in Asia, where Samsung has stoked people’s appetites for larger screens.

“I was in China right after the launch in October, and the excitement around the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were absolutely phenomenal,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook told investors Tuesday, during the company’s December quarter earnings call, in which it reported its most profitable period ever.

Apple’s online revenue in China over the holiday totaled more than the sum of the previous five years, Cook said. And the technology giant is rapidly expanding its retail presence, with plans to double the number of stores to 40 by 2016.

“It’s an incredible market,” Cook said. “I think people love Apple products, and we are going to do our best to serve the market.”

To be sure, Apple doesn’t have a lock on the Chinese market. It faces competition from local manufacturers such as Lenovo and Xiaomi, whose newly introduced Mi Note reportedly sold out in three minutes.

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