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Apple CEO Tim Cook Wants You to Know: China's Really, Really Okay

China revenue more than doubled in the September quarter.


Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook offered a message for investors fretting about China’s cooling economy and what that might mean for sales of iPhones and other products: Things are going gangbusters, frankly.

Apple reported sales in greater China nearly doubled to $12.5 billion in the September quarter, as compared with the same time a year ago. Sales of the iPhone rose 120 percent over a year earlier, in a part of the world where the middle class continues to expand at a breathtaking rate.

“Frankly, if I were to shut off my Web and shut off the TV and just look at how many customers are coming into our stores … and looking at sales trends, I wouldn’t know there were any economic issues at all in China,” Cook said Tuesday during an earnings call. “I think that there is a misunderstanding, particularly in the Western world, about China’s economy.”

It’s a reprise of a chorus Cook has been singing since the summer, when he took the unusual step of writing to CNBC “Squawk on the Street” host Jim Cramer to report that Apple was experiencing strong growth for its business in China through July and August. The message temporarily bolstered Apple’s stock, which has been sagging.

Apple is investing heavily in China, which Cook predicts will one day eclipse the United States as the technology giant’s biggest market. By the middle of next year, Apple will operate 40 stores throughout the country. It also is working to foster the community of third-party developers who are writing mobile applications for the App Store, which logged triple-digit growth in the quarter.

“We’re very bullish on it,” Cook said Tuesday. “We’re investing in China, not for next quarter or the quarter after — we’re investing for the decades ahead.”

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