The number of developers in China creating apps and services for Apple’s iOS ecosystem has hit 1.8 million, according to statements made by Apple CEO Tim Cook at a cyber policy forum on Sunday organized by the Cybersecurity Administration of China.
Cook said that iOS developers in China have generated $17 billion in earnings, accounting for about a quarter of Apple’s total global App Store earnings, which is roughly $70 billion.
China is Apple’s third-largest market by sales, and represents an attractive growth opportunity for both active iOS devices and revenue. The strong earnings number indicates that in some way the company is gaining more traction in the region, despite the highly competitive smartphone ecosystem in China:
- Apple faces strong competition from domestic smartphone manufacturers, whose devices tend to run forked versions of Android. Apple’s domestic competitors offer premium devices that rival the iPhone at lower price points. These players take the lion’s share of smartphone shipments — Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi collectively accounted for 70% of all smartphone shipments in China in Q3.
- Apple is showing signs of a comeback in China following six consecutive quarters of annual declines in iPhone shipments. iPhone shipments grew an estimated 40% YoY in Q3 2017 to reach 11 million units, up from 8 million in the year prior, according to estimates by Canalys.
Apple’s made a number of compromises to accommodate China’s strict regulatory body, and will likely make more to win over additional developers and consumers. Last month, Apple removed its “tipping tax” in China just two months after it introduced the controversial App Store policy.
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