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Asian Sales Propel Apple Profits

Apple CEO Steve Jobs talks on stage in front of an iPhone, left, iPad and iPod Touch, right, Sept. 1, 2011 (file photo)

Strong demand in emerging markets - and especially in Asia - is pushing profits at U.S.-based Apple to record highs.

The maker of the iPhone and iPad tablet computer says profits for the April through June period hit $7.3 billion, twice as high as the same quarter last year.

Apple says sales of its products increased most dramatically in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. One executive says Apple's sales in China were just "scratching the surface".

Worldwide, Apple says it sold 20.34 million iPhones during the quarter - twice as many as it sold during the same time last year.

Sales of its tablet computer, the iPad, tripled to 9.25 million. Apple computer sales totaled 3.95 million, 14 percent higher than the same time last year.

Separately Wednesday, Chinese computer maker Lenovo launched a new challenge to Apple's dominance in the tablet computer market.

Lenovo said said it will start selling three new tablet computers globally later this year. The company has already been selling tablet computers in China.

Lenovo's tablets will sell for between $479 and $499. In comparison, Apple's iPad 2 starts at $499 for the least expensive model.

Some information for this report was provided by Bloomberg and Reuters.