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China continues to be an important driver of revenue growth for Apple


With Apple generating tens of billions of dollars in revenue each and every quarter, analysts have long been asking how Apple will be able to not only maintain, but increase its growth in the years to come.

While there is always speculation surrounding great new mythical products the company may or may not have in its pipeline, Apple for the time being remains focused on getting its current products in front of as many customers as possible.

To that end, China continues to represent an increasingly important part of Apple's ongoing efforts to generate significant revenue growth.

During Apple's earnings conference call this week, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty claimed that Apple's growth in China was stalling and asked if Apple was hitting a wall.

On the contrary, Apple CEO Tim Cook answered that Apple's recent quarter in China was the company's best yet. iPad sales were up 138 percent year over year while revenue checked in at $8.8 billion, representing an 11 percent increase year over year.

Further, Cook emphasized that Apple remains committed to expanding its presence in China and noted that the smartphone market for first-time buyers represents a large, untapped market for Apple.

We're also innovating with our online store there, and adding different functionality to the store. China has an unusually large number of potential first-time smartphone buyers, and that's not lost on us. We've seen a significant interest in iPhone 4 there and have recently made it even more affordable to make it even more attractive to those first-time buyers. And so we're hopeful that will help iPhone sales in future.

Cook also added that Apple plans to double its number of retail stores in China from 11 to 22 in less than two years.

Of course, the holy grail in Apple's efforts to increase revenue growth is a potential deal with China Mobile, the largest cell carrier in the world with upwards of 700 million subscribers.

Rumors of the iPhone landing on China Mobile have persisted for quite some time, yet it remains to be seen just when an official deal will, if ever, be signed. One thing's for sure -- the two companies have engaged in high-level discussions in the past. Most recently, Tim Cook met with China Mobile executives this past January, though details as to the nature of the meeting were naturally hard to come by.

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