Watch As China Has Grown To Become Apple’s Second-Biggest Market
Apple has been sharing some details of its success in China for a while. But last week, Apple formally created a Greater China segment in its quarterly earnings materials — it previously reported only a broader Asia Pacific segment — and released two years of historical data. (“Greater China” also includes Taiwan and Hong Kong.)
The upshot: China is easily Apple’s fastest-growing market, with December-quarter sales up 67% year-over-year, compared to Apple’s 18% overall growth and 15% growth in the Americas. This is why I always think of China when topics like “cheaper new iPhone model!” come up.
China generated $6.8 billion of revenue for Apple last quarter, not including Apple retail stores, which are a separately reported category. (On Apple’s earnings call, CEO Tim Cook noted that China including retail was $7.3 billion, but Apple has only reported that data sporadically.) That’s about 13% of Apple’s overall sales, or ~14% if you include retail. But China represented 34% of Apple’s year-over-year December-quarter revenue growth, while the much-bigger Americas market represented 32%.
It wasn’t always this way. A few years ago, China didn’t deserve its own line on Apple’s reports. Now it clearly does.
One note: While this past quarter was Apple’s biggest ever overall, sales-wise, it wasn’t the biggest China quarter. Apple’s Greater China business generated a peak $7.6 billion during the March 2012 quarter, when the iPhone 4S launched in mainland China. ($7.9 billion including retail.) China represented 19% of Apple’s overall sales that quarter.
When might China pass the U.S. in sales for Apple? At Asymco, Horace Dediu predicted that it could happen by 2016. He also notes a surprising fact: Apple’s “China sales grew in three years as much as they did in the US in 33.”