Apple is growing in China.
The tech giant's iPhones gained a little bit of market share in the People's Republic. According to research firm IDC, Apple's share of China's smartphone market increased from 6% to 7% in the last three months of 2013. And, this is with only a couple of weeks that include Apple's deal with China Mobile. Apple only began selling phones with the world's largest mobile carrier at the end of December.
Sales to "Greater China" (which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong) accounted for a little less than 15% of Apple's Fiscal Year 2013 sales of $170.9 billion. With China Mobile's 760 million subscribers now all potential customers, does Apple have a chance at taking on Samsung and local tech titan Lenovo for an even greater share of the smartphone market? Or, are there obstacles ahead besides even the iPhone 5c's starting price of roughly $726 in a country where that can be as much as two-month's salary?
According to CNBC contributor Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global, hopeful investors should pare down their expectations a little bit.
"What a lot of analysts have to remember is that China is still building out the network that Apple iPhones work on," says Sanchez. "So, its sales are going to be dependent on how many people are on that 4G network…. Apple's sales will increase and they will continue to take market share. However, it's going to be slower than people expect."
Sanchez also contends that Apple's price is relatively inexpensive compared to its peers and the S&P 500 index as a whole. Apple currently trades at roughly 12.5 times the next twelve months' earnings while tech stocks trade at about 18 times earnings and the S&P 500 as a whole trades at about 16 times earnings.
"Apple is cheap," says Sanchez. "It's one of the cheapest values out there."
Jeff Tomasulo, Managing Partner of Belpointe Alternative Investments, says the charts of Apple shows that the stock is "trying to figure itself out" after bouncing off from a double bottom pattern in July. The stock is now above its 20-week moving average. On a long-term basis, Tomasulo is watching the $500 per share level; the stock closed at $536.33 on Wednesday.
"If it stays above that $500 support level, I really like it," says Tomasulo. "But, keep in mind, it has to take time."
To see the rest of the discussion on Apple with Sanchez on the fundamentals and Tomasulo on the charts, watch the video above.
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