Cook went on to note that in the fourth quarter Chinese revenue was up 26% year over year to $5.7 billion. The iPhone 5 had officially not been granted network access yet, and with deals with China Telecom, China Unicom and potentially China Mobile (CHL) on the way, it's widely expected this number will be much higher in the coming months.
Signing a deal with China Mobile will be the major key for Apple in China, as China Mobile is the world's largest mobile carrier; it had more than 700 million subscribers at the end of October. Of those, 79.3 million are 3G subscribers. China Mobile is currently working on building out its own 4G network, which many presume to be the final stage of an Apple-China Mobile deal. If Apple were to capture even 20% of those 79.3 million, that's good for another 15 million iPhones.
The network access for the iPhone 5 is a huge coup for Apple, one that will help turn the tide against Samsung, ZTE and other device makers that are firmly entrenched in China.
If there is any concern over that, just look at this reaction the last time an iPhone was available for sale in the world's largest country.Interested in more on Apple? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock. -- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York >Contact by Email. Follow @Commodity_Bull