updated 09:25 am EST, Thu December 30, 2010
Taiwan hints iPad only having mild carrier effect
Carriers in Taiwan aren't yet feeling a significant pinch from the iPad and other tablets on their netbook sales, those in the island's telecom industry said Thursday. Subsidized netbook sales only dipped slightly in November, to 14,000 computers from a peak near 16,000. It came despite the iPad having been on sale for months and some carriers, like Far EasTone, selling devices like the ViewSonic ViewPad, Digitimes said.
The contacts nonetheless acknowledged that the tablet market was relatively young in the country. Only Apple, Samsung and ViewSonic were selling tablets in significant quantities in the area, they said. They expected more of an impact when a wave of tablets reached Taiwan in spring, but the lack of major productivity features led them to believe they wouldn't lose more than 25 to 30 percent of netbook sales.
A lack of impact might have come through the lack of subsidies on the iPad in the country. Carriers like Chungwa Telecom and Far EasTone have been hoping for the iPad, but local buyers at present typically have to buy the iPad at full price and outside of a carrier store. Apple has only just recently begun offering subsidized iPads through some carriers in Asia and Europe and hasn't seen the long term effects.
Subsidized pricing is important to netbooks in Taiwan as the country only sells a total of about 20,000 netbooks a month, making the 14,000 carrier sales the majority of its business. Carrier-subsidized tablets could negate much of the price disparity for companies like Apple that otherwise have a disadvantage.