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Apple Inc. (AAPL): This Region Just Came Alive Again

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) earnings post-mortems continue to roll in nearly 18 hours after the company  posted results that were a little better than estimates and following the announcement of a stock-stimulus plan that included a 15-percent uptick in the quarterly dividend and a share buyback program that would be six times more robust than the original program that was announced.

As hours go by and Apple analysts and business journalists have a chance to dig into the numbers, they can sometimes find some very interesting information that may change or reinforce the perception of the top- and bottom-line numbers. One of the observations we found was that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may have seen a quarter-over-quarter drop in revenues and sales in the March quarter, but the Asia Pacific region woke up from a slumber, while China growth slowed to a crawl.

Overall, however, the region’s 26-percent annualized growth rate in the March quarter (taking China out of the equation) can actually be seen as a positive thing for Apple, where the region holds two very large and dynamic emerging markets – China and India – and others like the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)By  comparison, the December quarter was not good for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the region, at just 10 percent – however, China grew at an annualized rate of 67 percent during that period but less than 10 percent this time around.

On the one hand, Apple has been more aggressive in marketing in Asia in recent months, and CEO Tim Cook made a point of mentioning the success during the earnings call, that Apple  had taken over the No. 1 spot in market share in Japan during the March quarter, the first time in more than a year that a non-Japanese company has owned the top spot.

However, it could be disconcerting to know that China’s growth slowed so dramatically when the overall smartphone market there continues to grow and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) indicated plans to open 11 more Apple retail stores in the country, more than doubling the current footprint. It is possible that the slowed growth may be a result of a series of anti-Apple stories in the state-run press in recent weeks that may have scared off some potential customers.

But also, the growth in the country is being hampered by the lack of a deal with China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless carrier by customer base. If the growth in China continues at the pedestrian pace it is at currently, Apple will lose some leverage to reach a deal with China Mobile to open up Apple to a large pool of potential customers.

Will a cheaper iPhone help the effort in Asia? What do you think? With the huge penetration levels of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the Americas and Europe, how important is Asia for Cupertino? What do you make of the numbers in that region and by extension the overall health of Apple in terms of its growth? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

But wait, there’s more

Here’s a look at 4 Revealing Comments From Apple’s Q&A With Analysts. You’ll want to see what Tim Cook had to say about a low-cost iPhone, and in particular, his view on the “phablet” smartphone space.

DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.

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