Apple's personal computer sales on the mainland advanced to a record high in the third quarter, allowing the technology giant to step up as the market's eighth largest computer brand.
Market research firm IDC said Apple, maker of the popular iPhone and iPad, shipped 400,000 personal computers on the mainland in the quarter to September, compared with 250,000 units in the same period last year.
That enabled Apple to take a 2 per cent share on the mainland, the world's biggest market for personal computers. The California-based company had a 1 per cent share last year, when it was ranked 11th among the mainland's leading computer brands.
Bryan Ma, IDC's associate vice-president for Asia-Pacific client devices research, said the improvement augured well for Apple's prospects to significantly boost its computer shipments in the market this year and next. The firm's total shipments last year reached 934,000 units from 440,000 in the whole of 2010.
Apple's notebook and desktop personal computers run its proprietary OS X operating system. Notebooks comprised 85 per cent of the computers sold by Apple on the mainland last quarter, up from 75 per cent in the same quarter last year.
"Apple has been making big investments to develop its presence on the mainland and build the momentum it has gained," Ma said. "Its personal computer sales have also benefited from the halo effect caused by the iPhone and iPad, which are in great demand in that market."
Since Apple's products are in the premium price range that caters to a specific consumer segment, Ma said it is far from challenging mainland leader Lenovo, which had a 34 per cent share last quarter.
Forrester Research analyst Zhao Wenyuan earlier this month said Apple would expand its network of branded stores on the mainland to Chengdu, Dalian, Guangzhou and Chongqing after launching its first nine locations in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Shenzhen in recent years. The mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau comprise Apple's No2 market after the United States.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook said last month China represented 15 per cent - about US$23.8 billion - of the firm's total revenue in its last fiscal year.