PC shipments in China will reach 83.6 million units in 2012 and though Apple is making steady progress in this market it still has some way to go, according to data from IHS iSuppli.

The IHS iSuppli China Research Service shows that while China contributes more than 90 percent of global PC production, it also accounts for 22 percent of global demand.

While IHS' data doesn't give specific figures for Apple, we do know that Mac sales grew by 58 percent in the Asia Pacific region in the last quarter of 2011.

China accounted for 12 percent of Apple's overall business in 2011, up from just 2 percent two years ago. In the fourth quarter of 2011 alone, Apple took in $4.5bn in revenue from China, making it the fastest-growing region where the company does business.

Back in November last year, analyst Charlie Wolf of Needham and Co said that Mac sales would see dramatic increases in China due to a "perfect storm" of brand image and an expanding, affluent middle class.

"The growth of Apple’s sales in China represents a perfect storm between an iconic brand and a rapidly growing middle class that’s more brand conscious than consumers in most other regions of the globe," said Wolf.

Indeed, China is bucking the global trend for PC sales. Most markets, particularly in the western world, are seeing a decline in PC sales, while IHS predicts that China's PC market will see 13 percent growth in 2012.

"China has become the most important PC market worldwide, representing not only the vast majority of global production, but also a major source of demand," said Elaine Zhi, analyst for China electronics research at IHS.

"And amid a period of slowing PC sales growth worldwide, China’s consumers and businesses continue to generate healthy increases."

However, Apple still finds itself behind Lenovo, Acer, Dell, Asus and HP in China and the arrival of Windows 8 and new ultrabook models will increase the already stiff competition in the country's PC market.

Apple trailing Google Android in China

But while ultrabooks have been introduced into the Chinese market in the last year, and are expected to account for between 15 and 20 percent of notebook sales in the country in 2012, issues remain over pricing.

"Apple’s Macbook Air is expected to carve a niche in the market due to its performance and reasonable price," Zhi told Macworld.

Ultrabooks, meanwhile, come in at a similar price to the MacBook Air and Zhi believes that this is a big challenge that ultrabook manufacturers need to overcome. This means reducing prices to around 4,000RMB to 6,000RMB (roughly £400 to £600) in order to make them more attractive to buyers than the MacBook Air and Apple's iPad.

Zhi told Macworld that she expected Apple's share of the market to grow steadily in 2012 and that the company would finish the year as one of the top 10 PC manufacturers in the country, probably in eighth position.

Apple's share of the PC market in the US and the UK has been growing steadily in recent months, even when the iPad is not included in measurements.