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Apple, China Mobile: Can You Hear Me Now?

Stocks in this article: AAPL CHL

China has become an increasingly important market for Apple. During the company's most recent earnings call, CEO Timothy D. Cook said Apple had a "pretty good quarter" in China, but that there's scope to do more.

"Yes, Ben [Reitzes] we had a pretty good quarter in China," Cook said, in response to a question from Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes. "We obviously want to do better. But if you look at the quarter, we did grow by 6%. Underneath that, iPhone units were up 25% year-over-year despite significant constraints on iPhone 5s that affected the whole company [ph]. However, we were able to launch in our first round this time in China and that was a big change in the result of a close work relationship with the carriers in China and the government."

During the quarter, Apple's revenue in Greater China was $5.73 billion, up 24% sequentially.

Apple's primary revenue driver is the iPhone, which generated $19.51 billion of the company's total sales of $37.5 billion revenue. Getting the iPhone 5s and 5c, especially the 5s, Apple's high-end smartphone, into the hands of more consumers can only boost Apple's revenues.

That ultimately should begin to drive the share price higher, something that's been an issue over the past 12 months. The tech giant has lagged the S&P 500 in total return this year, something that's caused activist investor Carl Icahn to initiate a position. Apple shares are down 2.6% year-to-date, while the S&P 500 has gained 26.53% over the same timeframe.

With China officially getting 4G licenses for commercial use, this is welcome news for Apple and its shareholders.

--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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