The iPhone maker is only “scratching the surface” of Chinese demand after sales in the region surged six-fold to $3.8 billion last quarter, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in July. Still, delays in store openings may give makers of smartphones and tablets equipped with Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android software room to gain market share, said Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group.
“In many ways they are still behind the curve, and they are opening stores too slowly,” said Rein, whose Shanghai-based company advises retailers and other clients about operating businesses in China. “Before, Apple had clear dominance in terms of technology, but now the gap is being lowered because of Android.”
Apple is expanding distribution of its products including the iPhone and iPad in China as competition with Android device makers including Samsung Electronics Co. and Lenovo Group Ltd. (992) intensifies. Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman at Apple, declined to give the company’s latest target for store openings in China.
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