Analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities believes Apple is Wintek's most important customer, and has interpreted the company's stronger-than-average November as a sign that iPhone 4S sales are particularly strong. He also believes Wintek's success is an indication that Apple is rebounding from apparently reduced iPad 2 build orders in October, a reduction said to be due to an excess of parts purchased by Apple in the previous quarter.
"We believe the data points at Apple's suppliers will begin to look more positive over the next week as monthly sales from Apple's suppliers are released and checks are consummated," White said.
"As such, we believe Apple's stock price will begin to reflect these data points and trade higher, especially given the selloff over the past few weeks."
White sees another catalyst for AAPL stock on the horizon in the forthcoming launch of the iPhone 4S in mainland China. Carrier China Unicom is expected to begin selling the iPhone 4S this month, following government regulatory approval of the device.
"We expect to see Apple fever on display throughout the country with long lines, stock outs and scuffles," he said. "In the coming months, we expect China Telecom... to be added to the iPhone for the first time."
He noted that China's 3G subscriber base reached 110 million in October, while total wireless subscribers are now nearly 952 million. In fact, market research firm Strategy Analytics recently announced that china is now the world's largest smartphone market, having surpassed the U.S.
Customers line up for the iPhone 4S at Apple's retail store in Hong Kong in November. Photo via Reuters/Times Live.
A total of 16 percent of Apple's sales in the September quarter came from Greater China alone. That amounted to $4.5 billion in revenue, representing a major 270 percent year over year increase.
For comparison, in fiscal year 2009, Greater China accounted for just 2 percent of Apple's total sales. Now, China is number two on Apple's list of top-revenue companies, and the Cupertino, Calif., company has begun placing additional investment there with new retail stores and more than 7,000 points of sale for the iPhone.