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.
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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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