Apple was supposed to get killed in China last quarter

Remember what happened to Apple when it reported its third-quarter earnings last July?

Despite a sharp increase in global sales and profits, traders the next day wiped $40 billion off Apple’s market value. The reason given by the business press, and repeated by a parade of talking heads on CNBC, was that the company was going to be hit harder than any other by China’s economic collapse.


“Frankly, if I were to shut off my Web and shut off the TV and just look at how many customers are coming into our stores … and looking at sales trends, I wouldn’t know there were any economic issues at all in China,” Cook told analysts Tuesday during the earnings call. “I think that there is a misunderstanding, particularly in the Western world, about China’s economy.”

Rather than drying up, iPhone sales in Greater China soared 120% last quarter. Total Apple revenue in the region, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, reached $12.5 billion, up 99%.

Apple still has plenty of room to grow in the region, which Cook believes will soon overtake the Americas ($21.7 billion last quarter) to become the chief engine of the company’s growth.

That might just sustain Apple until the engineers in Cupertino come up with something new.

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed. You might also want to subscribe to Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the business of technology.

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