With Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares touching $400 for the first time today, the stock now represents 13.6% of the Nasdaq 100 ETF (NASDAQ:QQQ). Shares have climbed 9.37%, up roughly $23 over its last closing prices before releasing the company’s third-quarter earnings report less than a week ago. Apple’s third-quarter earnings beat already high expectations, reporting a net income of $7.31 billion, or $7.79 a share, more than double the $3.25 billion it made in the same time period last year. Revenue rose 82% to $28.57 billion from the year earlier, beating analysts’ expectations of $24.92 billion in revenue and a net income of $5.81 a share.
So how has the tech giant come back from its veritable collapse in the mid-1990s to be one of the most successful companies on the planet? It’s Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) unique blend of products and branding that has led the Cupertino-based company to lead global markets in PC, smartphone, and tablet sales. Last quarter, Apple’s iPad sales accounted for 61.1% of the tablet market. And the iPhone continues to be one of the most popular single devices on the market, with its iOS coming in a close second to Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android OS. And earlier this year, Apple gained the largest market share in the personal computer business to shame longstanding Windows (NASDAQ:MSFT) driven PC makers such as Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ).
Aside from its products, its sleek, modern Apple Stores are a huge draw for a wide range of consumers, and are almost always crowded with customers. A year ago, Apple opened a 16,000 square foot flagship store in Shanghai, and it has already become too small as Apple has done what few other tech companies, including Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook, have been able to do: become number one in China. In fact, its four Chinese stores — two in Shanghai and two in Beijing — are the four most heavily trafficked Apple stores in the world, even more so than the 24-hour Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan. But why the overseas success, especially in a country known for its own technological advances?
According to John Quelch, former senior associate dean of Harvard Business School and current head of the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai,”Scarcity sells, and this is the same strategy Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has used in the U.S.” Of course, the buying power of the rising Chinese middle class is not to be underestimated, but Apple’s products are peerless, and because they are next to impossible to counterfeit, the Chinese (NYSE:FXI), like so many others around the world, are willing to pay premium prices for something they can’t get anywhere else.
Adding to its profitability, the company continues to out-do itself. It’s not uncommon for a product to be updated one or more times a year, or for customers to buy each new version. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) products have some of the fastest market turnovers, with many customers upgrading to newer versions of products they’ve only recently purchased, and that still perform like new. Nobody wants to have outdated Apple technology — the brand has become the new status symbol, like the latest Louboutins or the Birkin bag. While Apple technically faces competitors in the PC, smartphone, mp3, and tablet markets, it is unrivaled as a brand. No other single company has the sort of global recognition and status that have made Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) number one.