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Three months ago, when CEO Tim Cook was asked why Apple’s income from higher China sunk 14 percent year over year, he did not have an excellent answer. Apparently, there hadn’t been a ‘completely clear’ response for the shift.

Now, poring over Apple’s Q4 profits, the story is very various. That same region accounted for $5.7 billion of Apple’s total income pie (or, if you prefer, 15.3 percent). What’s more, it’s up 24 percent from last quarter, and up 6 percent from last year. And CFO Peter Oppenheimer even kept in mind during his quarterly breakdown that 27K staff members of the Aeronautics Market Company of China were outfitted with iPhones.

So exactly what happened? Why the turn-around? Cook was asked that very concern during this afternoon’s profits call, and he’d to do with as underrated as always. ‘We’d a respectable quarter in China,’ he kept in mind. ‘Undoubtedly we want to do much better.’

It soon ended up being clear that there was no one reason for Apple’s bounce back in the region this quarter. Cook pointed to a better working relationship with Chinese carriers, and the government as a whole for one, a shift that enabled Apple to China in its first wave of iPhone 5s and 5c rollouts. In case you haven’t been keeping track, that’s a first for the company and the country, and Cook wants to keep things running smoothly on the mobile end of things.

Part of Cook’s strategy to boost Apple’s performance in China boils down to great ol’ fashioned selling. He stated that the business is ‘continuing to invest in shops’ because market (and kept in mind that Apple just recently opened a new shop in Chongqing). Apple was at first extremely focused on presenting in huge cities, but the secret to maintaining and broadening its grip in China is obviously going to be focused around earlier launches, purchasing indirect distribution and a honing of retail expertise.

We will see exactly how that goes, but for now there’s little question that Apple is the underdog of the area – Android (and its numerous forks) reign supreme for a handful of reasons and it appears unlikely for that needle to move dramatically at any time quickly. That stated, IDC showed previously in September that it expected Android market share in China to plateau entering 2014 and at some point pave the way for platforms like iOS and Windows Phone to get some steam, so Apple’s refined strategy could put into place at just the right time.

[Photo via Flickr/kwramm]