The Chinese market is about to be overrun by tablet PCs in the fourth quarter, when the iPad and other competitors are expected to launch, said Fei Zheping, China marketing director of MIPS technologies, a US-based chipmaker, at a forum held Friday in Beijing.
Many providers of electronic devices have already begun to ride the wave. Great Wall Computer, a Shenzhen-based firm, released its Gpad in April. Hanvon, China's major e-book reader producer, released its touchPad a month later. PC leader, Lenovo, is also planning its own tablet, the lePad. Other producers like Aigo and ErenEben are also rushing to grab a share of the market.
The whole market for the tablet PC has been knocked open by the iPad. Since Apple released its first model of iPad in April, 3 million iPads have been sold worldwide. According to Apple's Chinese partner, Unicom, iPad could be here as early as next month.
"It is important that tablet PCs in China go domestic. Producers should make their focus on producing a tablet PC to cater to Chinese customers. By providing consumers products that have both excellent hardware and software, Chinese firms can surely take the major share of the tablet PC market," said president of Great Wall Computer.
"iPad, which is to be priced at more than 3,000 yuan ($441.83), is beyond the buying capacity of most Chinese consumers. This price leaves Apple with the high-end market here. What we should focus on is the price range around 1,000 yuan ($147.28). This would be acceptable to most Chinese consumers," said Wu Bo, CEO of Lashou, a leading sales company.
Though Chinese domestic producers are mostly confident about competing with the iPad, some expressed different opinion. "Apple is still the absolute leader in the market. It owns the core technology in the field, like multi-touch," said Li Qingcheng, dean of the College of Software Technology, Tianjin-based Nankai University.
"It is very important for domestic producers to improve their products before they rush to the market. The first impression of consumers is crucial," said Liu Hui, editor of Sohu IT.
By Liang Fei