For Apple, greater China has been one of its fastest growing markets for iPhone sales, so the company wants to more than double its presence there.
Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said in an interview with Sina, the Chinese media outlet, on Thursday that Apple planned to open 25 new retail stores in greater China over the next two years, adding to the 15 stores it currently operates in the region.
Mr. Cook essentially reiterated what he said earlier this week about Apple’s worldwide expansion in a call with analysts after the company released quarterly earnings results. But his comments to Chinese news outlets add emphasis to the company’s determination to expand in that market.
Many of the new stores he spoke of in the analysts’ call will be in greater China, which includes mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, which shows that Apple is hoping most of its future growth will come from there.
Mr. Cook also told Sina that it was only a matter of time until most of Apple’s sales come from greater China. Over the last quarter, about 14 percent of Apple’s sales came from that region.
For Apple, becoming big in China is no easy feat. The Asian handset makers Xiaomi, Samsung, Lenovo, Yulong and Huawei dominate the Chinese market. Apple is No. 6. Apple also faces a particularly tough competitor in Xiaomi, which quickly rose to the top of the Chinese smartphone market with its unique business model of selling phones nearly at cost and making money from software and Internet services.
However, there is lots of potential for Apple to become much bigger in China. In its third fiscal quarter, Apple’s revenue in China grew 28 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago. And this year Apple began selling iPhones on China Mobile, the largest phone carrier in the world, with about 800 million subscribers.
When reached, an Apple spokeswoman had not yet received an English transcript of Mr. Cook’s interview with Sina.