Apple CEO Tim Cook sees huge opportunity for his company in China despite the country’s recent economic fluctuations.
After Apple beat Wall Street’s expectations for both revenue ($51.5 billion) and profit ($11.1 billion) for the September quarter, Cook hopped on an earnings call with analysts Tuesday and offered some thoughts about Apple’s business in China.
The company’s revenue in the country grew by nearly 100 percent from this time last year, going from $6.29 billion in fiscal Q4 2014 to $12.51 billion in the most recent quarter. After the Americas, the Greater China region is Apple’s second-largest market, outpacing its revenue in Europe by nearly $2 billion last quarter.
“We are investing in China not just for next quarter or the quarter after, but for the decades ahead,” Cook said. “Our view is that China will be Apple’s top market in the world — and not just for sales. It’s also the developer community, which is growing faster than any other country in the world. The ecosystem there is very, very strong.”
Cook also pointed to iPhone sales in Greater China (China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan), which grew 87 percent from this time last year. The iPhone 6 was the top-selling smartphone in mainland China last quarter, while the iPhone 6 Plus was No. 3, Cook said.
That growth happened despite the fact that smartphone sales in China are actually slowing down.
“We’ve been able to grow without the market growing,” he added.
As for China’s shaky economy, Cook said he hasn’t seen any impact from it on Apple’s sales.
“Frankly, if I were to shut off my web and TV and just look at how many customers come into our store and online — and, in addition, looking at our sales trends — I wouldn’t know there were any economic issues at all in China,” he said.
Cook also pointed to China’s middle class, noting that a recent McKinsey study showed the middle class growing from 50 million people five years ago to 10X that amount over the next five years.
“We see enormous change in China over the next several years,” Cook said.