Chinese Mac users are preparing an October campaign focused on Apple's iPod.

The country is emerging as the global economic superpower, with impressive forecasts for local technology market growth emerging.

An estimated 35-40 million Chinese households now having the spending power of a US middle class home.

A series of signs underline the importance with which Apple should regard the Chinese market.

Lenovo takes third place

Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo recently acquired IBM's PC business to become the world's third-largest PC manufacturer. Last week Lenovo confirmed its successful execution of the move, delivering financial results for its first quarter that surpassed analysts expectations. It delivered tripled revenues and profits rose 6 per cent.

Also last week, analysts at Informa Telecom predicted that Chinese broadband subscriptions (or connected households) will overtake those in the US by 2008. By 2010, the analysts said, China will account for one-in-four of all broadband subscribers - but only 90 per cent of Chinese will be connected.

Internet giants battle for China

With a rich prize to play for, Yahoo last week revealed plans to invest $1 billion in cash in exchange for a 40 per cent stake in Chinese Internet firm Alibaba.com.

Competing search engine firm Google is already the second-largest search firm in China, according to iResearch.

The speeding pace of Internet adoption in China has led to impressive statistics for companies already in the local market. Online game World of Warcraft boasts 1.5 million subscribed players there.

Unlike many countries, China also boasts a trade surplus to the tune of $10.4 billion. This is because its exports are growing at a faster rate than its imports.

Apple changes gears

A report in the South China Morning Post in July claimed Apple to be preparing to gear up its activity in the region, revealing the company is pondering opening three retail stores in Hong Kong.

In April 2004 Apple's Asia-Pacific product marketing manager Danny Lam stressed the company's focus on the market: "The Asia-Pacific is an important market for us. In this region India and China are growing fast and we expect their contribution to our revenues to increase."

Chinese evangelists put iPod in focus

Apple hopes its Mac and iPod sales will grow, as a result of such activities. The Beijing Macintosh user group will end its month of iPod activity with a flourish, revealing plans to launch Playlist Beijing in late October.

User Group president David Feng observed: "The iPod is catching on in Beijing and we want the Mac and music population to be in the know. Groove to the music - on an iPod - with the Beijing Macintosh user group and its iPod organination."

Playlist Club will also host an event in Philadelphia, US on August 22, with an event in Southampton, UK scheduled for September 29.