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iPad launches in China to mild interest [u]

updated 12:05 pm EDT, Fri September 17, 2010

Clones, gray market likely making an impact

(Updated with Shanghai response) Today's official Chinese launch of the iPad has generated only mild interest, Fortune observes. Although a number of reporters are said to have gathered at the Beijing Apple Store this morning, only about 100 customers lined up. "Plenty" of Wi-Fi-only iPads are claimed to have been in stock; the 3G model is not yet being sold by Apple in China.

The first official iPad buyer in Beijing was Han Ziwen, who picked up two tablets after camping in front of the Apple outlet for over two days. Distinguishing him from the crowd was a blue t-shirt, the words "I BUY IPAD NO 1" printed in front. At least some of the people in the crowd were picking up iPads for friends.

The low turnout is thought be attributable to cheap clones and the gray market, since imported iPads have been available for several months, including 3G models. A 64GB 3G iPad costs about $1,000 from one vendor interviewed for the Wall Street Journal. At the same time, some Chinese say they are willing to buy direct from Apple, since doing so means they can get official support.

Update: Photos are showing a more enthusiastic response at Apple's Shanghai store, with lines wrapping around the store's cylindrical glass entrance.



by MacNN Staff




  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No wonder!

    There must already be a dozen or so copycat ripoffs costing a tenth the price...this is CHINA, folks!

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cheap and Chinese both begin with a 'C'

    The general population there cannot afford an non-essential device that robs 1/4 of their annual income.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Who's right?

    According to these guys, not even the rain prevented hundreds of people from lining up hours in advance. In other words, same story as elsewhere in the world at an Apple product launch.

    This reminds me of reporting about anti-government protests in Serbia during Milosevic years. Independent media would report about hundreds of thousands of protesters; government newspaper would say "a few hundred hooligans showed up for an anti-democracy rally"...

    Who is who here?

  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Asian text input

    I would expect the iPad to be extremely popular in Asia due to their method of Asian text input (the same method employed by MacBooks and MacBook Pros that have muti-touch trackpads). I don't know of any other computers that come built-in with such a great input method.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I wouldn't count on high sales of

    Apple products in mainland China. Hopefully, Apple will build up a loyal customer base over time and establish itself as a reliable brand name. I'm also figuring that iPad knock-offs will be far more popular due to the low prices. If most Chinese consumers can't afford the real deal then it can't be helped. It might take years for Apple products to take hold, but they have to start somewhere.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Cheap and Chinese both begin with a 'C'

    The general population there cannot afford an non-essential device that robs 1/4 of their annual income.

    So, are you saying the Chinese are too cheap to buy an iPad? That Chinese people only like cheap products? Or that the Chinese people are too cheap to spend a quarter of their income on an iPad vs. food and housing?

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