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In China, Apple Needs Cheap iPhones and a New iTunes

Coolpad's Quattro 4G LTE
Coolpad's Quattro 4G LTECourtesy Coolpad

When Apple reports its quarterly earnings after the markets close Wednesday, investors will be looking for clues about how Chief Executive Tim Cook plans to cope with the company’s challenges in China. In the world’s largest telecom market, Apple has not only fallen far behind arch rival Samsung Electronics, it also lags behind Lenovo, a PC company that just two years ago was barely even in the smartphone business at all.

Adding to the indignity, Apple is also behind an even less-known brand called Coolpad,  which is owned by Shenzhen-based China Wireless Technologies. As my Bloomberg News colleague Edmond Lococo and I reported Wednesday, Coolpad has become the No. 3 brand in China, behind only Samsung and Lenovo and well ahead of Apple, thanks to its focus on low-cost smartphones.