Apple’s greater China revenues approach a record US$10 billion

iPhones, iPads and a deal with China Mobile keep Apple performance high in China

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 April, 2014, 7:55pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 April, 2014, 7:57pm

Apple convened with shareholders for its latest quarterly earnings call last night, during which the company revealed it generated revenues of US$45.6 billion over the three month period, with 9.8 billion coming from the greater China region, including Taiwan and Hong Kong.

In what Apple CEO Tim Cook called the company's strongest non-holiday quarter ever, sales for iPhones and Macs exceeded expectations predicted by global research firm IDC.

iPhone sales increased 28 per cent from the previous quarter, far over IDC’s estimated 20 per cent, while Mac sales were up 13 per cent, way above IDC’s estimated negative eight per cent.

As many expected, this strong growth in greater China appears to originate in part from Apple’s deal with China Mobile, the world’s largest telecom operator with over 1.24 billion subscribers.

In January of this year, Apple partnered with China Mobile to make its iPhone devices, including the recently launched 5S and 5C, available for subsidy when purchased with calling and data plan bundles.

“The addition of China Mobile coupled with great response to our more affordably priced iPhone 4S led to an all time quarterly record for iPhone sales in Greater China,” said Apple CFO Luca Maestri in the earnings call. “We look forward to broadening our relationship with China Mobile as they expand points of sale and continue to build out their 4G network.” 

Around the time that news of Apple’s deal with China Mobile started making the rounds, many analysts wondered if the partnership symbolized the company’s final free ride.

But Maestri emphasized that Apple’s alliance with China Mobile only reveals one side of the story.

iPad sales in the greater China region grew six percent, making it one of the few territories where the tablet device didn’t experience flat sales.

App Store and iTunes related sales, meanwhile, saw growth in the “triple digit percentages," according to CEO Cook.

"We literally did well in every single area in China," Cook said. "It wasn’t just because we were able to come to an agreement with the world’s largest carrier. That was certainly key, but as you can tell from the rest of these numbers there are other things going on."

Cook revealed that the company intends to triple the number of Apple stores it has in greater China over the next two years, and will continue to “build out channels” and “expand in online.”

Currently, Apple has 10 flagship stores in mainland China, and an additional three in Hong Kong. It also has an official e-store on Alibaba’s Tmall.

This article was originally reported by Tech in Asia and was edited and republished with permission.

Additional reporting by Jeremy Blum