Apple CEO Tim Cook just said on the company’s earnings call, “We acknowledge that our growth rate has slowed… from the exceptionally high levels we experienced in 2012.” The one thing that kept revenues from dropping even further? Record revenue in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, the only region of the world where Apple’s revenue grew from last quarter.
The iPhone 5 and iPad Mini didn’t launch in China until December 2012, so most revenue from those launches was recorded in the first three months of 2013, the quarter that Apple just reported. And China has been a huge growth area for Apple over several quarters, as you can see in the chart above.
During the earnings call, Cook also mentioned figures from research firm IDC indicating that the smartphone market could double in size from 2012 to 2016. As we’ve noted numerous times at Quartz, most of that growth is going to happen in emerging markets. The problem is that markets like China are dominated by cheap smartphones running Google’s Android mobile operating system.
So while revenue from China provided Apple a nice bump this quarter, it doesn’t follow that growth in China’s smartphone market will benefit Apple instead of its competitors.