After selling a record number of iPhones last quarter, Apple Inc. posted outstanding sales and profits. Profits soared to $18 billion, the biggest profit in corporate history. As a result, the company’s shares achieved record highs, pushing its market cap to break the $700 billion mark, another historic record for American corporations.
In a conference call with analysts, Apple Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tim Cook expressed his surprise with the recent records.
“Interest in Apple products is at an all time high … shattering our high expectations,” Cook told the analysts. “This volume is hard to comprehend.”
Valuation is calculated by multiplying a company’s stock price by its shares outstanding. Apple has just under 600 billion shares outstanding and the individual value of shares peaked to $122.02, up over 64 percent over the past year. This increase raised the company’s valuation to a record $710.7 billion. Prior to this quarter’s gains, Apple’s previous market cap record, achieved in September of 2012, was $658 billion.
As explained by Cook, part of Apple’s recent monetary success is accredited to the company’s successful expansion of business overseas. According to the Wall Street Journal, Cook said that the act of disregarding “conventional wisdom that Chinese consumers were too price-sensitive for Apple’s high-end products” gave room for the company’s drastic growth.
Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray Senior Research Analyst, spoke on Wall Street Journal Live, echoing Cook’s view on China’s contribution to Apple’s growth. He added that Apple’s collaboration with China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile phone operator, really benefited Apple’s expansion.
“These emerging markets love those bigger screens, and so that was a critical piece to Apple’s strategy in China,” Munster said. “That tenure with China Mobile along with the right foreign factors has really caused the China business to take off.”
To put Apple’s valuation in perspective, Apple’s market cap is larger than Switzerland’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014, which amounted to $679 billion. In comparison to other corporate giants’ valuations, Apple’s market cap at $710 billion is far ahead, with ExxonMobil following at $382 billion, Google trailing closely at $363 billion and Walmart following at $281 billion. Apple’s valuation is about four percent of last year America’s GDP, which amounted to $17.4 trillion.
According to Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley, despite only accounting for 20 percent of the world cell phone market, Apple took in 93 percent of the industry’s profits during last quarter. Samsung took the remaining nine percent, while the the rest of major smartphone makers —Nokia, Blackberry, Lenovo/Motorola, High-Tech Computer Coorporation (HTC) and Lucky Goldstar (LG)— either took a small profit or a loss. This does not account for Chinese phone maker giant Xiaomi, since it is a private company and its sales and profit numbers are not available. If the entire US population decided to collectively buy Apple Inc., every single citizen would have to contribute $2,261. If the global population decided to pitch in, every single citizen of the world would have to contribute around $97.
As for the near future, the much anticipated Apple Watch is set to hit markets shortly.
Like he explained at an investor conference, Cook believes that users will be most surprised by the watch’s wide range of functionality.
“One of the biggest surprises people are going to have when they start using it is the breadth of what it will do,” Cook said.
Apple will be releasing the Apple Watch in “early 2015,” supposedly sometime in April, according to the official Apple website.