Apple's sales in China jump 70% on changed strategy

Apple yesterday reported $16.1 billion in revenue from ''greater China'', including mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, in its first fiscal quarter, up 70 per cent from the same period a year ago.

According to estimates of Canalys, a research firm, Apple was now the No 1 smartphone maker in China.

The success in China helped Apple emerge at the top for the first quarter, increasing overall profit to $18 billion and revenue to $74.6 billion.

The same quarter a year ago, saw the company rake in a profit of $13.1 billion and revenue of $57.6 billion.

Overall iPhone sales overtook analysts' projections as Apple revealed it sold 74.5 million iPhones in the quarter, as many as 12 million more than expected.

Meanwhile, USA Today reported that the company said that Apple Watch would start shipping in April.

Apple's strong showing sent the company's stock soaring and in extended trading, Apple shares were up 5 per cent, to $114.74.

Apple is mostly associated with creating trends but in China, the iPhone maker seems to have succeeded by following one.

Over the years, rivals including Samsung had pushed large-screen smartphones, which the market lapped up, but Apple preferred to stick to its screen format, which severely affected its sales, making China a weak spot for the company.

However, Apple came out with its own large-screen versions last September, which created generated huge sales in the country.

According to Van Baker, mobile analyst at Gartner, the company closed the feature gap - namely the lack of a large screen (with iPhone 6 Plus) - and, as a result, they blew the doors off for revenue and earnings.

According to commentators, the record sales highlighted the wild - and continued - popularity of the iPhone 6 and larger-screen iPhone 6 Plus. The upsurge was led by demand in China.

According to a Fortune panel of 30 Apple analysts, iPhone sales were expected at 66.5 million, up 30 per cent from the same quarter a year ago.

Apple CEO Tim Cook projected in October that the recently completed quarter would be Apple's best ever, with revenue at $63.5 billion to $66.5 billion.