Apple ($AAPL) has plans for the 2020s to roar, in China - but now, the Coronavirus outbreak has stepped in for the US-China trade war to vex CEO Tim Cook and his plans to maintain his smartphone maker's pace of growth and productivity overseas. 

As 2020 begins, Apple job postings in China are up year-over-year nearly 50%, and the smartphone maker is returning to business as usual there after spending more than a year with plans and supply chain costs in limbo as Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping battled it out on the policy front.

The arrival of the likelihood of a resolution - or at least a Phase 1 deal that would allow all parties to begin to work under the expectation of de-escalation of tariffs - appears to have given plenty of Wall Street leaders enough confidence to start listing more job postings in China. 

But China isn't the only place Apple is increasingly bullish - the smartphone maker, which, through Thinknum Alternative Data, we explained in a separate post is beefing up its hardware hiring, as well. And, using our chart above, we can see that job postings for employees in "Operations and Supply Chain" rose a whopping 48.5% in the fourth quarter of last year alone. 

And that's still not all of Apple's ramped up hiring activity; Sales and Business Development roles saw a 16% hike in Q4 job postings and the company did more software and services focused job posting, too (not shown). So while China fears may be hampering Apple shares and analysts, Tim Cook's tech company is still positioning itself for growth in 2020 and beyond. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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