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China has become Apple’s second-most important market

During yesterday’s Q4 2011 earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook spent a lot of time talking about just how important China is to Apple’s future. Cook called the company’s progress in China “amazing,” and a look at the numbers shows exactly what he’s talking about.

The greater China region, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, accounted for 12 percent of Apple’s 2011 full-year revenue. The figure for fiscal year 2009 was only 2 percent, which indicates a huge growth rate for a single region. Cook referred to greater China as Apple’s “fastest-growing region by far.”

In the fourth quarter, China was responsible for US$4.5 billion in revenue — that’s a full 16 percent of the $28.7 billion in total revenue reported by Apple. By comparison, the European region contributed $7.4 billion to Apple’s total revenue, so the China region is essentially providing 60 percent of what Europe is.

Apple is helping to fuel the growth, with six Apple Stores now in greater China that are all at the top of the company’s list of most-visited and highest-grossing locations. Cook expressed Apple’s interest in the region when he stated that “In my lifetime I’ve never seen a country with as many people rising into the middle class aspiring to buy products that Apple makes. It’s an area of enormous opportunity. It has quickly become No. 2 on our lists of top revenue countries very, very quickly.”


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