Apple Inc (AAPL) wants better sales of its iPhone and iPad devices in China in 2014, and has specifically targeted to sell them in the country's outskirts to achieve the goal.
Apple's Greater China sales, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, reached $5.7 billion in the recent quarter, up by 6 per cent from the $5.4 billion a year earlier.
CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iPad
Air and the iPad mini with Retnia display during an Apple event in San Francisco, California
October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
"We had a good quarter in China. We obviously want to do better," Tim Cook, Chief Executive of the Cupertino, California-based company, said.
"We're working on both coverage, on launching earlier and execution, and continuing to build on our retail practice there," he added.
To achieve this, Apple will increase its presence in China, specifically in areas outside the country's largest cities. Apart from legitimate Apple stores, the company's iPhone and iPad tablet will also be sold in more outlets across China.
The new iPad Air is displayed during an Apple event in San Francisco, California October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
In fact, according to Mr Cook during a conference call this week, the iPhone has been made available in 50 per cent more stores in China compared in 2012.
But conquering China does not merely start and finish with opening more stores and outlets. Technology has to be specifically customized for this market to achieve the goal of bigger sales volumes, according to Robin Li, co-founder and chief executive officer of Baidu.
For one, Chinese buyers prefer smartphones with larger screens, Mr Li said. They also cling on to software tools that will enable them to type their messages more quickly in Chinese.
"Chinese characters are very different from English - you need an input method engine to do that," Mr Li said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. "Apple does not have a good one, and they do not allow good ones to be uploaded in the App Store."
Mr Li, despite seeing Apple's struggle to penetrate his hometown's consumers, however commended Mr Cook's open-mindedness to continue reaching out to the China market.
"He's good. He's very reasonable, he's very smart," Mr Li said. "He understands the Chinese market."
Apple's overall sales improved 24 per cent to US$1.1 billion from the previous quarter. The company expects revenue to reach US$55 billion to US$58 billion this quarter.
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