Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares have had a rough year this year, although it looks like that's changing. Investor and analysts are now wondering whether the company's stock will hit last year's peak of $705 per share ever again. Of course we can always count on notorious Apple bull Brian White, now of Cantor Fitzgerald, to expect great things of the company. He still has his $777 per share price target on Apple and points to rapid smartphone growth in China as being one of the key drivers for Apple's growth over the next year.
Apple's tremendous growth record
Forbes contributor John Reese also lists Apple as one of his top holiday stock buys. He thinks investors have gone "too sour" on the company because it didn't keep up with the "astronomical pace of growth" it has enjoyed over the last ten years. He likes Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s 14 times price per earnings ratio and 41.5% long-term growth rate, which he determined using an average of Apple's three, four and five-year earnings per share growth rates. He also likes the company's 14% debt to equity ratio.
Growth in China means good things for Apple
White reported the latest mobile subscriber numbers from China, which covered the month of November. Total wireless subscribers in China hit 1.23 billion during the month. China saw an 82% increase in 3G subscribers year over year, although the month over month growth rate slowed to the lowest growth rate on record—3%. Nonetheless, White believes that by the end of 2014, China will have more than 600 million 3G subscribers.
The analyst noted that China Telecom and China Unicom both benefited significantly from the launch of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s two new iPhones. China Unicom actually led 3G growth in November. The implication of this could be that China Mobile will become even more motivated to strike a deal with Apple. Although it has often been reported that the two have made a deal, no deal has surfaced as of yet. White expects to see one by the end of 2014.
Apple grows in China again
White notes that although Apple's growth in China slowed down over the last year, the company returned to growth there in the fourth quarter of this year. The company saw a 6% increase year over year in its September quarter. The analyst also believes the expected bigger iPhone 6 will spur even more growth for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in China.