Sales of Apple's iPad fall as Android-based devices gain

Updated: 2013-08-22 07:42

By Meng Jing (China Daily)

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China's best-selling tablet computer iPad saw its shipments to the country between April and June drastically halved from the previous quarter as Apple Inc's competitors, both international and Chinese, build up market share.

Shipments of the tablet in China were down from about 3.04 million in the first quarter of the year to 1.48 million units in the second quarter, with its market share in the country shrinking from 49 percent to 28 percent during the same period, according to statistics from International Data Corp, a global market intelligence firm.

Apple's product is still No 1 in terms of market share in China's tablet computer sector but rapidly increasing sales numbers from rivals have led to a more challenging market for it.

"The market share of Android-based tablets, such as Samsung, is growing rapidly because there is a much bigger user base that is already familiar with the system because of the smartphones they use," said Dickie Chang, a Hong Kong-based analyst with researcher IDC, told China Daily on Wednesday.

Chang said Samsung Group took second place in China's tablet computer market in the second quarter with its share surging to 11 percent from 6 percent a quarter earlier. China's Lenovo Group Ltd was third with shipments of its tablet computers more than doubling from the quarter earlier, taking 8 percent of market share in the same period.

However, Chang said with the launch of the new iPad 5 this autumn, predicted by insiders, sales of Apple's tablet are expected to rise.

"I think Apple intentionally reduced the shipment of iPads in the second quarter. They need to protect the interest of those who just bought the iPad 4. Because with the arrival of the new iPad, the price of the older generation will fall dramatically," he said, adding no one wants to spend a lot of money on an iPad but find its price shrinking overnight because a new one has arrived.

The falling sales of the iPad in the second quarter also led to the slow growth of the whole tablet computer market in China. According to a report released recently by the Beijing-based research firm Analysys International, the total shipment of tablet computers in China in the second quarter increased 5.6 percent from the previous quarter. It was the slowest growth rate since the second quarter of last year.

Wang Jun, an analyst with Analysys International, echoed Chang, saying the release of the new iPad will be good because of the large number of loyal Apple fans in China.

"However, releasing a new product doesn't stimulate its sales for more than three months. In the long run, I still bet on the future of Android-based tablet computers," Wang said.

Because of the large number of Android users in the world, more money and resources are used to develop apps on the Android system.

"It is more practical for people to buy an Android-based tablet computer," he added.

According to Apple's financial results for its fiscal 2013 third quarter, which ended on June 29, the California-based company's revenue in China plunged 43 percent quarter-on-quarter to $4.64 billion. The Americas, which reported a 3 percent increase quarter-on-quarter in revenue, were the only region listed in Apple's financial results that had an increase in sales in the third quarter.

The company's financial report said the shipment of iPads in the third quarter declined 25 percent quarter-on-quarter and the revenue from iPads shrank 27 percent compared with the second quarter figure.

Sales of Apple's iPad fall as Android-based devices gain

(China Daily 08/22/2013 page16)