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As China’s population adopts smartphones, Apple is ready to reap the benefits. In its quarterly earnings call Tuesday, Apple is expected to announce that for the first time, it has sold more iPhones in China than in the United States.
Writing for the Financial Times (registration required but CNBC has the full article here), Tim Bradshaw pointed out two reasons that China has become the top region for iPhone sales: A December 2013 deal for China Mobile and its then–760 million subscriber base to have a network-compatible iPhone, and the launch of larger devices such as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Big-screened phones are generally favored in Asia more than in some other regions, so the new phones are driving demand there; 4 million reservations before pre-orders even began were reported in China.
As noted by 9to5 Mac, Bradshaw reports that UBS analysts are expecting a large sales difference between the U.S. and China, with the latter accounting for “36 percent of iPhone shipments in the most recent quarter, compared with 24 percent for the US. During the same period last year, 29 percent of units were sold in the US and 22 percent were in China.”
Because it’s the world’s most populous nation, China has always been a key market for [company]Apple[/company], as well as its competitors.
Assuming Apple did sell more iPhones in China than in the U.S. over the past three months — and I won’t be surprised at all if that did happen — it’s almost a certainty that the U.S. will never again provide the most iPhone sales from a single country to Apple. With roughly four times more population and a smartphone revolution that’s relatively young, China will drive iPhone revenues with no signs of the U.S. catching up any time soon.