updated 06:45 am EST, Wed January 25, 2012
Tim Cook says China demand 'off the charts'
Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted during yesterday's Q4 conference call that it "Didn't bet high enough" on the overwhelming Chinese appetite for its flagship iPhone 4S. According to Bloomberg, Cook said that Apple thought that it had been "betting bold," but the reality was that it "didn't bet high enough." Without revealing specific numbers for Q4, Cook said during the call that demand for the iPhone 4S was "off the charts."
Apple's Beijing store failed to open as planned on January 19 for the iPhone 4S, following unruly crowd behaviour after around 500 people lining up for the device were angered when the store did not open as scheduled. Police were forced to seal off the area around the store after its glass windows were pelted with eggs and the crowd started jostling.
Although iPhone 4S sales at Apples retail stores remain suspended, the company turned to selling the highly sought-after device online through Apple's only Chinese carrier partner, China Unicom. However, following overwhelming demand, China Unicom's webstore is currently sold out of its iPhone 4S stock. With the handsets manufactured locally, the shortage has a hint of irony.
Despite the Apple reporting the second largest quarterly earnings in US corporate history built on the back of record iPhone sales totaling in excess of 37 million for the October-December quarter, shareholders were keen to learn how Apple planned on meeting Chinese demand. While Cook said Apple was working closely with China Unicom, he had "nothing to announce today on an expansion there."
However, at the same time, Cook intimated that Apple was in talks with other possible partners as Apple would continue address the Chinese market by looking at how it can "grow it further." Apple had sold over 5 million iPhones in China in the nine months leading up to the launch of the iPhone 4S.