A man displays his iPhone 4 in New York City.
A man displays his iPhone 4 in New York City. - 
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: We're going to get a slew of earnings reports today -- Bank of America, Johnson & Johnson, and Coca-Cola. Apple will also tell us how it did in its last quarter, including how well iPads and iPhones have been selling in the U.S. But Apple's real long-term strength may come from China. It's close to sealing a deal with China Mobile, the world's largest mobile carrier.

Marketplace's China Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz reports.

ROB SCHMITZ: China didn't always seem like a slam-dunk for Apple.

MICHAEL CLENDENIN: They had no stores. Their technology and products were considered too expensive.

That was just a few years ago, says Michael Clendenin, an analyst with RedTech Advisers.

CLENDENIN: They had very little hope of competing in a China that was perceived as being full of penny-pinching consumers.

But there are millions of consumers in China who don't fit that stereotype. Apple now has four times the amount of people walking through the doors in each of its three China stores than any of its stores in the U.S. A country that used to be an afterthought for Apple is now seen for what it is: a land of more than a billion consumers. Apple has plans to build 25 more stores in China by the end of next year.

And then there's that China Mobile deal. It would suddenly make the iPhone available to half a billion more consumers. That's got some analysts predicting Apple will soon make more money in China than it makes at home.

In Shanghai, I'm Rob Schmitz for Marketplace.

Follow Rob Schmitz at @rob_schmitz