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(DAVID GRAY/REUTERS)

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Hold the iPhone: Asia sours on Apple

Apple stock was blasted Wednesday on news that China Mobile would begin selling Nokia devices. A close look at the revenue growth trends in Asia suggests investors are right to worry.

Apple management could, until this year, depend on rapid quarter-over-quarter revenue growth in Asia. In 2010 and 2011, Asian revenues for Apple spiked 71 per cent and 83 per cent, respectively, more than double the rate of growth for the company overall. But this year, while Apple saw total global sales in its fiscal first quarter (ended Dec. 30, 2011) jump 64 per cent, Asian sales growth lagged far behind, and in the past two quarters absolute sales have declined. The softness in Asian growth is likely one reason Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Thursday that the company would begin manufacturing laptops in the United States.