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Apple: $7.3 billion in first-quarter sales in China

The company plans further expansion in a region that posted a 60 percent year-over-year increase.

Chinese Apple staff members cheer in the new Apple Store before it opens in Wangfujing shopping district on October 20, 2012 in Beijing, China. Getty Images

Whatever disappointment investors may have with Apple's latest earnings report, nothing could rub away the shine from the company's strong sales out of China.

Apple's sales in the "Greater China" region, encompassing China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, were $7.3 billion in the quarter, a 60 percent year-over-year increase, according to CEO Tim Cook, who spoke during a conference call today following the publication of Apple's fiscal first-quarter numbers.

"This is incredibly high," he said, adding that the comparison was even stronger than it seems at first blush, as last year's sales quarter included an extra week. "The underlying growth is higher than that. We saw exceptional growth in iPhones, into the triple digits. We shipped the iPad very late in the quarter in December and despite that, (we) saw very nice growth."

Apple now has 11 retail outlets in China, and Cook said the company has "many more to open there. In our premium resellers, we went over 400, up from a little over 200 in the previous year. We increased iPhone point of sale from over 7,000 to over 17,000 there. This isn't nearly what we need; we're not even close to that, but we're making great progress.