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Summary:

Tim Cook told China’s state-run news agency that he sees the country becoming its largest market. He’s not just flattering his hosts: the greater China region represents about 15 percent of Apple’s total revenue, bringing in $23.8 billion during Apple’s fiscal 2012.

Tim Cook in January. He has made annual visits to China since becoming CEO. Credit: China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology
photo: China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology

Though the U.S. is still Apple’s largest market, CEO Tim Cook is sure that won’t last. During his much-discussed trip to China, he said that he sees China eventually becoming the largest market for its products.

“China is currently our second largest market. I believe it will become our first. I believe strongly that it will,” he said, according to state-run Xinhua News. “We are growing very fast. We are continuing to invest in retail stores here and will open many more over the next several years. We have some great sites selected, our manufacturing base is here, and we have incredible partners here. So it’s a very, very important country to us.”

He’s not just flattering his hosts. The greater China region represents about 15 percent of Apple’s total revenue. It brought in $23.8 billion during Apple’s fiscal 2012; an increase of $10 billion over all of 2011.

Cook is touring the country with SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller. So far, he has met with the head of China’s Industry and Information Technology agency, the chairman of the world’s largest carrier, China Mobile, and popped into at least one Apple reseller’s store.

China’s large population, with many people rapidly rising into the middle class — and thus able to afford Apple products — is crucial to Apple’s future if it wants to grow sales. It’s already the largest market in the world for new smartphone activations, but it should soon represent the largest in overall smartphone ownership. Inexpensive devices running Android dominate, however. Part of how Apple hopes to extend its reach is with more branded Apple Stores; it has eight in China already.

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  1. AshleyGossett N JoshuaRarrick Friday, January 11, 2013

    China is definitely a market to desire for Apple. The customer base there is incredibly large, and the potential for revenue is equally large. Get more details on Apple’s China operations and much more, right here: http://tinyapplebytes.com/

  2. CEO Sycophant Friday, January 11, 2013

    Tim Cook is a genious. How on did he ever come up with with that earth shattering conclusion? I guess that’s why CEOs make so much money compared to the rest of us prols. He is a modern day Nostradamus.

  3. Michael W. Perry Friday, January 11, 2013

    If Apple thinks China will be its largest market, then that much-cheaper iPhone is definitely in the works. China may have four times the population of the U.S., but it doesn’t have that many who can afford the current iPhones.

    Apple often says it won’t do what it’s planning to do to fake out competitors.

  4. So let me get this straight in a country like China were the per capita income is only $4,900 a year it makes sense to sell them iPhones that cost $1,200 locally.

    Sounds like a quick way to get mugged or hated from the average Chinese citizen while you flaunt your wealth.

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  6. Dear Mr. Cook
    While you may be a brilliant business strategist, your company’s brand is taking hit after hit because the market has come to expect the aggressivity of a Steve Jobs in responding to negativity. I am not professing that you respond to each and every negative news or blog or interview of an analyst. I am however pointing out that your “relative silence” is giving people food for thought about whether or not there really has been a loss of direction and of “pop” with the brand.

    Mr. Cook, I respect your business abilities as have been well documented in your business history. You are now leading a company where the expectation is success and execution. The MAPS app was a blip on the map…if you show the world that Apple has not lost its touch, and part of that is perception not only reality.

    Thank you,

    Sass Peress

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