Apple and China: Trouble or Opportunity Ahead?

During the conference call, an analyst from Morgan Stanley touched on the fact Apple's growth in the Asia-Pacific region was 25%. That's a nice number, but it's well down from over 100% last quarter. As a side note, Tim Cook illuminated an amazing fact about Asia-Pacific sales: Greater China is now two-thirds of Apple's Asia-Pacific revenue. To be fair, Japan is its own region, but that's still incredible.

Now, China sales grew 48% last quarter year-over-year. Again, that means it's decelerating, but that is still a huge number. More to the point, on a quarter-to-quarter (not year-over-year basis), Cook said half the drop was due to channel inventory management. What does that say to me? For one, it shows just how important Apple's partnership with China Telecom is. They added China Telecom in March, and the iPhone's introduction on that -- the last-place carrier in China -- has clearly been a boon. No doubt sometime soon, maybe even with the next iPhone, Apple will have a key catalyst launching on the nation's largest carrier, China Mobile.

The end takeaway: China's growth is slowing, but Apple is still cruising. Remember that those year-over-year sales in China didn't include the iPad in mainland China, which was launched after the quarter closed. iPhone sales were up 100% in mainland China and 66% in Greater China, but total sales were up 48%. I think that shows some of the pent-up demand in this nation, especially for iPads, heading into next quarter. All-in-all, I don't think you can complain about the quarter Apple just posted, and China's performing surprisingly admirably, even if the country's economy is slowing down. 

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Austin Smith has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Eric Bleeker has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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