NEW YORK (TheStreet) –– Though Apple's (AAPL) new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are not yet on sale in China, the country's massive adoption of 4G networks bodes well for the company's future in what it has deemed to be an "extremely important" market for it.
China's three major carriers, including China Mobile (CHL) , China Telecom (CHA) and China Unicom (CHU) all reported August mobile subscriber numbers, detailing that 3G (subscribers who use data plans) decelerated to 38% growth, year over year.
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White believes that has to due with the country's transition to 4G, and customers waiting for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. "We believe there are a few important catalysts for Apple in 2H:CY14, including the ramp in China," White said in the note. "For example, we believe consumers in China are on pause as they eagerly await the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which we expect to launch before the end of 2014."
In total, there are 1.678 billion subscribers (wired, wireless and broadband) in China, with 1.273 billion wireless subscribers, making China the world's largest cell phone market by far. For comparison, India and the U.S. are the next largest markets, with just over 900 million and 327 million subscribers, respectively. (Note: The U.S. data counts each phone for people who have more than one).
Apple has repeatedly said how important China is to the country's future, which makes getting the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus into the country as fast as it can a priority. In Apple's fiscal third quarter, it said it generated 28% revenue growth year over year in Greater China, making it its higher growth area by far. It's also second in terms of overall revenue, with $5.94 billion coming from Greater China, second only to the $14.58 billion from the Americas.
Though Apple generates the majority of its revenue from the iPhone, its other products, including iPad and Mac, continue to perform well in China, with Apple CEO Timothy D. Cook noting the market surprised Apple executives at just how strong it is, prior to the launch of the iPhone 6 on Sept. 19.