Apple sees growth in China even if bottom line shows otherwise


China seems to love Apple, but growing the brand there hasn't been easy.
Illustration: Cult of Mac

Apple is encouraged with its growth in China even if it registered a double-digit decline in revenue there.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri used other numbers to paint a rosy picture of the complicated China market when they met with investors during a first quarter earnings conference call Tuesday.

The company that enjoyed record revenues in China a year ago, reported a 12 percent decline in the first quarter.

Apple revenues in Greater China topped out at $16.2 million. Cook told investors China’s weak currency is to blame in part but added that the Hong Kong market has been slow to adopt to iPhone.

Cook and Maestri steered the discussion towards more positive indicators. The iPhone 7, Cook, said, was the top selling smartphone in Greater China. Apple saw double-digit growth in iPhone upgrades and people switching over from Android, he said.

Maestri said iPads and Macs grew in double digitalis over the past quarter and Apple, Cook added, was the top brand on Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company.

“The level of interest continues to be phenomenal,” Maestri said. “The middle class is growing in places like China and Brazil and more and more people can afford our products.”

Not mentioned during the earning calls was new President Donald Trump and his campaign threats to impose high tariffs on China, a trade war that could hurt American companies like Apple.

India is a big market for Apple.
Photo: Tim Cook/Twitter

The revenue report for China was the only blemish during a quarter that showed a record $78.4 billion in revenues.

Apple also saw growth in the lucrative India market. Maestri and Cook said products hit double digits in India, especially with iPhones.

Apple is in talks with the Indian government about manufacturing iPhones there and Cook said he hopes to see Apple Stores eventually open in the country.