iPad still top tablet in China despite rivals
Apple's iPad continues to reign as the top-selling tablet in China while rival Android devices from Motorola, Lenovo, and Asus struggle to gain a sizeable presence in the country's market, according to a Beijing-based research firm.
A total of 1.4 million tablets were sold in China during the second quarter, with 74 percent of those sales for Apple's iPad devices, according to Analysys International.
Apple's iPad 2, which went on sale in China in May, made up 53 percent of total tablet sales. About half of those sales came from official channels, while the rest came from unauthorized resellers, said Sun Peilin, an analyst with Analysys International.
Companies like Motorola, Lenovo, and Asustek Computer all began selling new Android tablets in China last quarter, but their sales haven't fared as well. Asustek Computer has grabbed the highest share among the three, with 4.2 percent of tablet sales in the second quarter. Motorola had 2.2 percent while Lenovo had 2 percent.
Chinese consumers are buying tablets for entertainment purposes and are selecting Apple's iPad because it has the best apps and multimedia offerings, Sun said. At the same time, many consumers are buying the iPad simply because its fashionable, he said. When the iPad 2 launched in China this past May, the device drew huge lines outside of Apple stores in Beijing.
The iPad's popularity in the country has helped propel Apple's revenues to new heights. Last week, the company said revenue from "Greater China"—which includes mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan—increased by more than six times from the same period last year.
The makers behind Android tablets need to improve their app offerings to compete with Apple's iPad, Sun added. But over time, Android tablets will grab a greater share of the market as more devices launch in the country. In this past quarter, Android tablets made up 24.3 percent of total tablet sales.
The second best selling tablet outside of Apple's iPad devices was a product from a Chinese company translated in English as the "e-person e-book". The device grabbed 4.8 percent of total tablet sales. The product is aimed for business users and features a stylus that allows for more precise handwriting in Chinese.
Outside of China, Apple has also been dominating the tablet market. Last year, the company had 83 percent of worldwide tablet sales, according to research firm Gartner. The company is projected to see its share fall to 67 percent for this year. Gartner forecasts that 69.7 million tablet units will be sold worldwide in 2011.