Apple CEO Tim Cook claims that the hunger for Apple products in China is the greatest he has seen in his lifetime.
Speaking to investors following the publication of Apple's full year results, Cook called the company's progress in China "amazing."
The region generated 2 per cent of overall sales for fiscal year '09, but last year it accounted for 16 per cent, making it Apple's second biggest market and its "fastest growing major region by far."
"It delivered $4.5 billion of our revenue for the current quarter, and that's up...about 270 per cent year-over-year," Said Cook. "That brought the total revenue for the fiscal year to over $13 billion. And to further put that in context, a year ago in fiscal year '10, we were just right above $3 billion. So it is growing at a feverish pace."
Apple now has 6 retail stores in Greater China, as well as a fully localised online store and a network of more than 200 resellers. The region also has 7000 "point-of-sales" for the iPhone.
"Certainly in my lifetime, I've never seen a country with as many people rising into the middle class that aspire to buy products that Apple makes. And so I think it's an area of enormous opportunity, and it has become number 2 on our list of top revenue countries very, very quickly."
Cook also said that the iPhone would play a pivotal role in breaking emerging markets like Russia, the Middle East and Brazil.
"There's several of these markets that historically Apple has not been strong and that the iPhone has really opened up and introduced Apple to a whole set of customers that didn't get excited about looking at other products that we have. And I think certainly, the iPad will be doing the same."
Cook went on to say that the tablet market would ultimately prove to be larger than the PC market, admitting that the iPad's popularity has cannibalised Mac sales.
"I think that some people are electing to buy an iPad rather than a Mac," he said. "However, I believe a materially larger number of people are electing to buy an iPad instead of a Windows-based PC. I think we are overwhelmingly coming out very, very well in that cannibalisation question."