that China Mobile (NYSE:
) would sell as many as 120 million TD-SCDMA handsets in 2013,
has revealed that smartphone sales in China could reach 329
million units by the end of 2013. China's smartphone market grew
substantially in 2012, rising 67 percent. That growth is the
primary source of Apple's (NASDAQ:
) interest in the market.
By getting in on the ground floor, Apple has the chance to
sell iPhones to customers who have never owned a smartphone
before. It also has the opportunity to take control of a market
as it grows, long before Google's (NASDAQ:
) Android or BlackBerry (NASDAQ:
) overwhelms the market with handsets.
Android has already made progress in China, however. Between
its success and the
record-setting iPhone 5
, Taiwan-based suppliers fear that it may be
for China to develop its own mobile OS.
Tim Cook, who became Apple's CEO after Steve Jobs stepped down
in the summer of 2011, firmly believed that China will become the
firm's most important market. He told
that China is currently Apple's second-largest market. "I believe
it will become our first," he said. "I believe strongly that it
"We are growing very fast. We are continuing to invest in
retail stores here and will open many more over the next several
years. We have some great sites selected, our manufacturing base
is here, and we have incredible partners here. So it's a very,
very important country to us."
The demand for iPhones and iPads is so great that it allowed
counterfeiters to open
more than 20 fake Apple Stores
in China. The company fought hard to close them down in 2011,
working with local authorities to ensure that only legitimate
locations remained operational.
That effort seems to have failed. Last October,
reported that there were still several fake Apple Stores in
China. One of them is accompanied by a
for the iPhone 5: "Because you have more money than sense."
, urban Chinese households have an average of $3,000 in
disposable income. That's enough for consumers to buy several
Lucky for Apple, the iPhone is not the only iDevice Chinese
shoppers want. Last summer, the iPad proved to be
the most successful tablet
sold in China.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer
of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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