Apple's China revenue grows despite late iPad launch

iPhone sales in mainland China continue to boom, growing by more than 100 percent year-over-year in the fiscal third quarter

Apple's revenue for China saw robust growth in its fiscal third quarter, as iPhone sales continued to boom, even though the company delayed the launch of its new iPad in mainland China.

For the quarter ended June 30, revenue for "Greater China", which includes the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, reached US$5.7 billion, said Apple's CEO Tim Cook during a Tuesday earnings call. This was a 48 percent increase over the same quarter last year.

The company's revenue for the quarter was however down by 28 percent from the previous quarter, when Apple's Greater China revenue reached $7.9 billion. Revenue in the previous quarter was boosted by the launch of the iPhone 4S in January, first through carrier China Unicom, and then China Telecom in March.

Apple's fiscal third quarter also proceeded without the launch of its new iPad in mainland China, with sales of the device having started less than a week ago or four months after they began in the U.S. The company recently resolved a trademark dispute over the iPad name with a local Chinese company, which had wanted to get the tablet banned from being sold in the country.

Apple's iPhone sales, however, continue to grow "at incredible rates" in mainland China, increasing in the quarter by more than 100 percent year-on-year, Cook said. Revenue in the country was unaffected by China's slowing economy, he added.

"We remain really confident about our plans and are very excited about our opportunity in China," Cook said.

Apple has previously said China has become the company's second largest market after the U.S. Reflecting the country's growing importance, Apple announced several China-specific additions to its products in June, including Mandarin language support for Siri, and allowing new versions of its operating systems to easily connect with popular social networking and Internet services in the country.

Previous Apple product launches in the country have created massive lines outside company stores. But for last week's new iPad launch, Apple used instead a new online reservation system to avoid the skirmishes that have occurred at previous launches. New iPad sales in the country, however, could lag behind the sales of the iPad 2, given the late launch, according to analysts.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service

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