Apple demonstrated how important it believes the Chinese market to be by promising that new Chinese features will appear in both OS X Mountain Lion and iOS, and telling developers to get their apps ready for China. According to analysts, China is a significant investment for Apple, and key to its long term growth.
"It's going to be important. Get your apps ready for China," Mac Software Engineering Craig Federighi told WWDC audience.
Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty noted Apple’s interest in the country that has a population of more than 1.3 billion, saying that Apple's China-specific features are "significant investments" and clarifying that Apple’s focus on reaching the Chinese market is "key to long-term growth," reports Apple Insider.
Indeed, China is bucking the global trend for PC sales. Most markets, particularly in the western world, are seeing a decline in PC sales, while IHS predicts that China's PC market will see 13 percent growth in 2012.
"China has become the most important PC market worldwide, representing not only the vast majority of global production, but also a major source of demand," said Elaine Zhi, analyst for China electronics research at IHS.
A win in the Chinese market would also give Apple access to the world’s most populated country and its growing middle class. Piper Jaffrey analyst Gene Munster claims that China's growing middle class is going to help Apple reach a share price of $1,000.
"The growth of Apple’s sales in China represents a perfect storm between an iconic brand and a rapidly growing middle class that’s more brand conscious than consumers in most other regions of the globe," said Charlie Wolf of Needham and Co.
In the keynote Apple revealed the following "Features for China" in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and iOS 6.
- - Improved Chinese Pinyin input method
- - A new dictionary and eight Chinese fonts.
- - Safari in OS X Mountain Lion will add Chinese search engine Baidu
- - Support for micro-blogging via Sina Weibo
- - Support for video sharing selections for Youku and Tudou.
- - Easy setup of popular Chinese email services
- - Siri support for Mandarin and Cantonese in iOS 6
China accounted for 12 percent of Apple's overall business in 2011, up from just 2 percent two years ago. In the fourth quarter of 2011 alone, Apple took in $4.5bn in revenue from China, making it the fastest-growing region where the company does business.