Previously, to get their downloads, Chinese consumers had to contort themselves fiscally by having to use dual-currency credit cards. That was such a hassle that many found it easier just to use non-Apple-authorized programs, even though that meant hacking their iPhones. It also led some to fraudulent behavior, such as using counterfeit gift cards and false identities.
China is a huge market for Apple, accounting for 16% of its revenue in the third quarter. CEO Tim Cook said that China is Apple's "fastest growing region by far." The company now has six Apple stores in what it calls "Greater China" -- that is, mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. And its iPhone has 10% of the smartphone market there, behind Nokia
But the potential for iPhone sales growth is really huge. Right now, the only telecom in China that has the iPhone is China Unicom
The country's largest carrier is China Mobile
It looks, then, like this decision to make it even easier for iPhone users to download their apps is quite a smart move and will create an even more lucrative position for Apple in China.
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Fool contributor Dan Radovsky has no financial position in the above-mentioned companies. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and China Mobile. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and China Mobile and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.