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Apple looking at China for growth

Even though China’s smartphone market is saturated, and now relies only on people replacing their devices instead of buying their first one, Apple still bets a lot on that market.

In its third quarter earnings the iPhone business grew by more than half, to $31bn (£19.64bn) on 47.5 million shipments. According to a report by the IB Times, sales in China more than doubled to $13bn (£8.24bn), over a quarter of Apple's revenue. The company did not say exactly how many iPhones it sold in China last quarter, but it was an 87 per cent increase on a year earlier.

Cook told Jim Cramer of the Street in an email exchange, "I can tell you that we have continued to experience strong growth for our business in China through July and August.”

"Growth in iPhone activations has actually accelerated over the past few weeks, and we have had the best performance of the year for the App Store in China during the last 2 weeks."

Cook added: "Obviously I can't predict the future, but our performance so far this quarter is reassuring.”

"Additionally, I continue to believe that China represents an unprecedented opportunity over the long term as LTE [4G] penetration is very low and most importantly the growth of the middle class over the next several years will be huge."

Not only does Apple have to battle in a saturated market, it also needs to battle Android, as well as cheap Chinese phones, which are a powerful force in the country.