Tim Cook touts booming start with China Mobile

CEO also says that after launches in 16 Chinese cities, Apple will be in 300 new Chinese markets by the end of this year. "We've got the ramp in front of us," he says.

Charles Cooper Former Executive Editor / News
Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.
Charles Cooper
Customers at the Wangfujing flagship store in Beijing, China. Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
One week into its new partnership with China Mobile, Apple says that it enjoyed its best-ever week for activations in China.

"It's been an incredible start," CEO Tim Cook said during the conference call Monday following Apple's fiscal first-quarter.

Although investors punished Apple's stock in after-hours trading, management has a clear incentive presenting the strong start and the promising prospects following the completion of the China Mobile deal. With about 760 million subscribers, China Mobile has more customers than any other carrier in the world, a stat that Cook said helped constitute a "watershed moment" for Apple. Although management didn't get too detailed, analysts expect the new partnership will account for somewhere between 15 million and 30 million more iPhone sales in 2014.

Cook touted Apple's China business in glowing terms, noting that revenues from the company's retail outlets in the company climbed 31 percent with iPad sales up 64 percent and Macs increasing by 28 percent, year-over-year. Overall, Cook said, it "really turned in a stellar quarter in greater China."

Another reason for optimism, according to Cook: Apple only launched in 16 cities, and will be in 300 Chinese cities by the end of this year. "We've got the ramp in front of us," he said.

Overall, Apple sold 51 million iPhones in the last quarter. That was the the most iPhones it has sold in any quarter and was up from 47.8 million in the year-earlier period.