Apple Inc reported a net profit of $18 billion owing to the record sales of its big-screen iPhones over the holiday shopping season. Its sales in China rose by 70%, helping the company record the largest profit in corporate history.

For the first-quarter ended 27 December, 2014, the company managed to ship 74.5 million iPhones, a record number, prompting CEO Tim Cook to call the move 'staggering' in an earnings call.

A woman holds up the iPhone 6 Plus at the Apple Store at Tokyo's Omotesando shopping district.
A woman holds up the iPhone 6 Plus at the Apple Store at Tokyo's Omotesando shopping district.Reuters

The tech giant recorded a rise in revenue, which jumped at $74.6 billion from $57.6 billion a year ago. In China, it recorded $16 billion in sales. Apple's cash pile now rests at $178 billion, larger than the economies of many Pacific and African countries. Its shares rose by 5% to 114.90 in the after-market trade.

CFO Luca Maestri confirmed to Reuters that China has not become the largest market for its iPhones, despite earlier prediction by analysts.

On the downside, the iPad line of devices continued to decline, falling by 18% from the year ago raising questions over the large-screen phone cannibalising sales of the tablets.

China's Hunger for iPhones

The Chinese market gobbled up the big-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, improving sales by 70% from the year-ago quarter. Apple's tie-up with China Mobile Ltd, the world's largest mobile service provider, is said to be the reason for the record sales, alongwith the appeal of larger-screen phones.

On the subject of the Chinese economy slowing down, Maestri said that he does not expect the company to struggle, adding, "We haven't seen a slowdown".

Apple has also doubled iPhone sales in Singapore and Brazil and it plans to reach 40 company stores in greater China by mid-2016.

Apple recorded a 14% increase in sales of its Macintosh computers, even as the previous versions of the iPhone continued to do well adding cheer to analysts covering the company.

Dollar Strength

In a conference call with analysts, Cook complained of significant foreign exchange volatility, and said that the strength of the dollar abroad was hurting the organisation. Currency fluctuations shaved 4% of revenue for the quarter, said Apple, reported BBC News.

Cook added that Apple's new mobile payment service, Apple Pay, was only its "first innings," and it will consider adding new features as it expands its global footprint.

Apple confirmed the Apple Watch is on schedule and would begin shipping in April.

Apple said it expects revenue for the second-quarter to be in the range of $52 billion to $55 billion, while analyst predict $53.79 billion.