This was not a complete surprise, however. A website owned by a China Mobile subsidiary recently began taking preorders on the Apple iPhone 5S and 5C.
The prospect of selling iPhones to China Mobile's 740 million subscribers opens up the hazard of what venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki termed "Chinese math". That's when investors and analysts start saying things like "All Apple has to do is sell to just 20% of China Mobile's subscribers to get to nearly 150 million units sold. That should be easy!"
Of course, it never actually is easy. For one, China is a country with a wide gap between rich and poor. It also has regional difference; urban incomes are more than three times higher than rural incomes. Extrapolating sales based on total statistics rather than more thoughtful analysis could be a mistake for investors, warns CNBC contributor Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global.
"[China Mobile has] over 700 million subscribers so there is no question there's a tremendous amount of optimism that this is going to be translated into tremendous Apple iPhone sales," says Sanchez. "However, I think you have to look a little deeper into those numbers. Right now, Apple has about a 15% market share in urban China. That's compared to about a 40% market share in the United States. So, you could say that there's definitely room for improvement in the China numbers."
China's smartphone market is dominated by Google's operating system. Four out of every five smartphones sold there operates off of Android which is used by many low-cost producers as well as the China's biggest smartphone seller of them all – Samsung.
"I think that this is going to be a challenge for them to sell a very expensive phone into that market," says Sanchez. "That said, they will definitely pick up subscribers and I think it's going to be positive. The one shining light for Apple is that it's cheaper than the rest of its counterparts."
"So, I do think this is going to be a net positive for Apple but I think there is way too much optimism."
But, Talking Numbers contributor Richard Ross, Global Technical Strategist at Auerbach Grayson, is bullish for another reason: The Apple's stock chart. After spending much of 2013 in negative territory, it's finally ahead this year. The stock's double-bottom lows around the $390 range in the spring and summer were a significant turning point for Ross.
"I don't think the optimism has gone too far," says Ross. "I think the pessimism went too far in the other way and now you're seeing that pendulum swing back as it always does. I think you want to be a buyer of Apple here ahead of the holiday season."
To see more of Sanchez's fundamental analysis and Ross' bullish chart on Apple, watch the video above.
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