Chinese people line up to buy iPhone 4S in a China Unicom store in the early morning on January 13, 2012 in Beijing, China.
Chinese people line up to buy iPhone 4S in a China Unicom store in the early morning on January 13, 2012 in Beijing, China. - 

Adriene Hill: We're starting the day with Apple. The company sold 37 million iPhones in the last three months of 2011. The U.S. is Apple's biggest market , but it sells its iPhone in 90 countries. Some of the strongest sales growth was in China, but economists say the company could -- and should -- be performing even better there.

Marketplace's Rob Schmitz reports from Shanghai.

Rob Schmitz: Yesterday, in a news conference broadcast on the web, Apple CEO Tim Cook had this to say about the China market for iPhones and iPads.

Tim Cook: China is an extremely important market for us, and we continue to look at how to grow it further.

Shaun Rein, head of China Market Research in Shanghai says from the ground in China, it sure doesn't seem like Apple treats China like an important market.

Shaun Rein: They never have enough products and enough retail points of sale in China to cater to the huge demand for their products. They only have five stores in mainland China selling the iPhone.

The advice to customers outside Apple's Beijing store when the iPhone 4S launched two weeks ago: Go home. A near riot ensued.

Apple reportedly has plans to build 25 more stores in China. How many would it take to keep up with demand? Rein says his firm has done its own research. The verdict: 100.

In Shanghai, I'm Rob Schmitz, for Marketplace.

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