On the Call: Apple CEO Tim Cook

NEW YORK (AP) ? Sales in China have been a big boost to Apple Inc. in the past year, and an analyst asked new CEO Tim Cook for some context on Tuesday’s earnings call.

QUESTION: Can you tell us how China operations are going, and what your prospects there might be?

RESPONSE: China progress has been amazing. If you look at our Greater China revenue, it represented just 2 percent of Apple in our fiscal year 09 and in the fiscal year we just ended, it accounted for 12, and if you just look at the quarter that we just ended, it accounted for 16, so it’s our fastest-growing major region by far. It delivered $4.5 billion of our revenue for the current quarter, and that’s up almost 4 times, or about 270 percent, year-over-year. 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 above $3 billion, so it is growing at a feverish pace.

We have placed new retail stores there, as you know. We now have six in Greater China. Our online store opened at the end of last year …

How far can it go? I 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. I think it’s an area of enormous opportunity, and it has quickly become No. 2 on our list of top revenue countries.