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IPhone 5 to hit shelves in China by Dec.: Cook

BEIJING--Apple Inc.'s latest handset, the iPhone 5, is expected to be on sale in China by December, according to a statement from its Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, in the company's quarterly financial report.

Apple has been placing greater emphasis on the Chinese market since Cook took over, illustrated by its store expansion in the country and a shortened new product delivery time gap between the United States and China.

As the company posted group quarterly revenue of US$36 billion, from July to September, Cook revealed its earnings in China grew 26 percent year-on-year, with sales hitting US$5.7 billion.

The country now delivers about 15 percent of its total income, about 5 percent higher than when Cook took over Apple a year ago.

About 60 percent of its revenue comes from outside the U.S., with China now accounting for a quarter of that, said the report.

However, in the smartphone market, Cook admitted that despite iPhone sales in the country enjoying a 38-percent annual rise, its latest handset, iPhone 5 hasn't arrived yet, while its main rival Samsung Electronics Co. introduced Google Inc.'s Android-based system Galaxy III months ago.

Apple sold more than 5 million iPhone 5s in the first three days after its launch on Sept. 21.

But the South Korean company now has double the number of global smartphone shipments of its U.S. rival, and has earned record high quarterly profits from July to September, according to IT research company International Data Corporation (IDC).

IDC said Apple sold 26.9 million iPhones during the quarter, while Samsung sold 56.3 million smartphones.

Wang Jiping, IDC's senior analyst in China, said: “China is the largest smartphone market worldwide, and Samsung has seen dramatic market share growth (there) during the past year.”

The company almost doubled its quarterly profits from a year ago to US$7.4 billion, while Apple posted quarterly net profit of US$8.2 billion during the same period.

Most noticeable were sales of its Galaxy range of smartphones which have now surpassed Apple's iPhone shipments in the Chinese market and globally.

Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's chief finance officer, said: “We're pleased to have generated over US$41 billion in net income and over US$50 billion in operating cash flow in fiscal 2012.

“Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2013, we expect revenue of about US$52 billion.”

IDC also reported that during the third quarter of 2012, 17.97 million smartphones were sold globally, about a 45-percent growth year-on-year, and almost half of them were produced by the two giants.

It noted that Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies Co. now holds a 4.2-percent share of the global smartphone market, after its shipments grew 82.9 percent to 7.5 million units in the third quarter.

“Although Apple's performance in the smartphone market is sliding, it still occupied about 69 percent of the tablet PC market in China,” added Wang.

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