How Apple conquered China: Breaking the global-local marketing 'rules'

David Wolf

See the companion article: How Apple conquered China: The unplanned success story

The recent disclosure of Apple's billion-dollar China profits has thrown attention on the company's business in China, inciting breathless speculation about its prospects in the world's largest, notoriously difficult market and provoking marketers to wonder what secret sauce Apple is using to fuel its growth.

Getting to the answers is no simple matter. Apple is closed-mouth about its marketing efforts, budgets, and staffing in China, and the few agencies that Apple uses maintain their client relationship at the cost of silence. Nonetheless, piecing together information from a range of sources, including former employees, resources, journalists, and publicly released information, it is possible to discern the outlines of Apple's approach to advertising and marketing in China.