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IPad's imminent debut in China's mainland unlikely

05-12-2010 10:56 BJT

BEIJING, May 12 (Xinhua) -- There is a long way to go for Apple Inc. to sell its iPad in Chinese mainland, a local analyst predicted here Wednesday.

Apple Inc. needs to form partnership with Chinese carriers to enable iPad's 3G services, said Zhang Lijun, a consultant with Analysts International, a leading IT research and consulting services provider.

Noting that China is not among the nine foreign markets Apple Inc. has chosen for iPad's international launch on May 28, Zhang said that iPad-related negotiations might be time-consuming, as its sister product, iPhone, was rolled out in Chinese mainland in 2009, more than two years later than its U.S. initial release.

Even if the 9.7-inch touchscreen portable device officially enters the market of Chinese mainland someday, its sales might not be as strong as in the United States, where Apple Inc. sold 1 million iPads in record-breaking four weeks, Zhang said.

One of the main reasons, said Zhang, is that users of Apple Inc.'s devices have to pay for every new application, an approach unacceptable for most Chinese consumers.

"In comparison with U.S. consumers, Chinese netizens are more accustomed to 'free lunch.' They are used to downloading free applications for their cellphones and other portable devices. This has become part of the Internet culture in China, and it is hard to change," said Zhang.

Liu Keli, a Chinese blogger, complained about the payment issue in one of her posts. While using an iPad brought by a friend from the United States, she found the iPad-related purchases a real headache.

The absence of convenient payment methods for overseas buyers and the relatively high price against the average income of Chinese consumers are also considered hurdles to iPad's entry into China's mainland market, Zhang said.

Against all the odds, Apple Inc. already has a large number of fans in Chinese mainland. They have even formed an online forum at Baidu.com, China's biggest search engine.

It seems, at least in the short run, these Chinese fans can only buy iPads from the markets outside China without access to 3G and after-sale services.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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