updated 04:52 pm EDT, Tue August 20, 2013
Could represent inventory drain in preparation for new models
The Apple iPad suffered a major drop in Chinese marketshare during the second quarter, says research firm IDC. In spite of its cost, the iPad has usually dominated the Chinese tablet market, holding over 50 percent of it. Q2 results, however, show the iPad down to just 28 percent, still in the lead but in active competition. Some 1.5 million iPads shipped to China in the quarter, half the amount delivered during Q1.
IDC analyst Dickie Chang suggests that the drop isn't necessarily a problem. Apple is likely reducing iPad inventories, he argues, in advance of launching new tablets this fall. The company is widely believed to be working on a slimmer 9.7-inch iPad and a Retina-equipped iPad mini. These will presumably be launched sometime after new iPhones arrive in September.
Apple's main rivals during Q2 were Samsung, with an 11 percent share, and Lenovo, sitting at 8 percent. Both companies saw increases in their shipments of Android tablets, as did a number of "white-box" vendors. Because China is still a relatively poor country, white-box tablets have made inroads based on their price. Onda for example is selling a tablet that costs just 699 yuan ($113), but still includes an 8-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera, and quad-core processor.
Amazon began selling the Kindle Fire in China in June, but has yet to make any significant headway. The Fire represented less than 1 percent of tablets, on par with many of its white-box competitors. In the same boat was Microsoft, which sold only 37,000 units split between its Surface RT and Surface Pro models.