Holiday may boost sales of new iPads

Updated: 2013-10-24 07:34

By Shen Jingting (China Daily)

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Related: Apple to offer iPad Air in China on Nov 1

Apple Inc's new iPad products are likely to give the company a rebound in China's tablet computer market, especially during the upcoming New Year holiday season, since iPads are popular gift choices in the country, analysts said.

Apple, still the No 1 player in the nation's tablet computer market, sustained a blow when its second-quarter iPad shipments sank, according to figures from International Data Corp, a global market intelligence firm.

Apple sold 1.48 million iPads in China in the second quarter, down sharply from 3.04 million in the previous quarter, with its market share shrinking from 49 percent to 28 percent, according to IDC data.

Samsung Electronics Co was second with 11 percent of the market. China's Lenovo Group Ltd was third, with an 8 percent market share, IDC said.

Holiday may boost sales of new iPads

Although the third-quarter figures have yet to come out, IDC China said that Apple's performance was "not satisfactory".

In contrast, Android-based tablet manufacturers, both international and domestic, built up market share in China during the second and third quarters, IDC said.

On Tuesday, Apple unveiled a new thinner, lighter tablet computer called iPad Air at a product event in San Francisco.

Apple also released a new iPad mini with a 7.9-inch Retina Display, which offers a higher pixel density than the earlier iPad mini.

According to Apple, the iPad Air is equipped with a 9.7-inch Retina Display and weighs just 1 pound (about 450 grams). It is 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than the fourth-generation iPad.

Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice-president of worldwide marketing, said that the new iPad Air is eight times faster than the original iPad, which came out in 2010.

Apple will offer its iPad Air in the Chinese mainland starting on Nov 1, the same launch date as in its home market of the United States.

However, initially, there will be only WiFi models available for Chinese buyers. The new iPad mini will be available globally later in November.

Both new iPads will come in silver or space gray, Apple said, disappointing some prospective customers who were hoping for gold iPads.

"We predict the introduction of the new iPads will boost Apple's performance in China in the first quarter next year, or as early as the fourth quarter this year," said Liu Nan, an analyst with IDC China.

He said that many people had resisted the temptation to purchase older iPads as they awaited new models. Those cautious people had a significant impact on Apple's sales in China in the second and third quarters.

Holiday may boost sales of new iPads

However, Liu said that the holiday-related rebound would be limited, and Apple probably wouldn't exceed the market share it achieved in the first quarter of 2013, when the iPad mini made its debut in the Chinese market.

The upcoming New Year holiday season and the Chinese Lunar New Year will create a shopping wave for Apple's new iPads. These are prime holidays for gift-giving, and iPads are popular present choices.

"I would like to buy two iPad Air devices to send to my parents, so long as the prices aren't too high," Wang Qiang, a Beijing white-collar worker, said on Wednesday.

Wang said that he is very interested in Apple's new products and plans to buy some of them within three months.

"If you look at the tablet computer market, few companies can deliver products as good as the iPads. So it's easy for me to decide," Wang said.

Apple said on its Chinese website that the starting price of the WiFi only iPad Air will be 3,588 yuan ($590), while the iPad mini with Retina Display will cost a minimum of 2,888 yuan.

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