Opinion

George Chen

What the iPad means for China

By George Chen
December 8, 2010
What does the iPad mean for Chinese consumers?
Let me offer you a choice before you read this column – do you want the good news first, or the bad news?
In fact, it’s the same story. For those who recently bought a first-generation iPad, here is the bad news – Foxconn Electronics, manufacturer of Apple Inc products, plans to begin shipping a new version of the iPad tablet, known as iPad 2, by as early as the end of February, according to a Dec. 7 news report by DigiTimes.
The report, citing unnamed sources from the Taiwan-based components maker, said the iPad 2 would mainly be supplied by plants in Shenzhen belonging to Foxconn, parent of Hon Hai Precision Industry. An initial shipment of 400,000 to 600,000 units is expected.
And the good news? Of course Hon Hai investors and those who want an iPad but have yet to buy one should be happy.
For Apple fans in China, the next big question is of course when the new iPad 2 will arrive in the world’s No.2 economy. Consumers there have already complained about long back orders for the iPad and iPhone 4 since the two products were launched earlier this year. As such, specialist “Apple smugglers” from Hong Kong to mainland China should be happy to see new arbitrage opportunities!
Chinese gadget makers may soon catch up with this opportunity to add whatever new functions the iPad 2 may have to their own “iPad killers”. Hong Kong- and Shenzhen-listed ZTE Corp launched a  tablet PC in October that sells for a far lower price than its Apple counterpart, and we should expect more Chinese competition for Apple in 2011. Or should I say innovation?
Despite fast-rising inflation, Chinese consumers have yet to stop buying new gadgets, as higher salaries means more disposable income. Products such as the iPad also fit the show-off culture of the so-called “new money” class in China — those who are much richer than the middle-class and who become rich within just a few years for various reasons, such as successful property speculation — so Apple should not be worried that Chinese consumers will tighten their budgets for non-necessities and high-tech devices next year.
During a recent visit to my hometown Shanghai, I was told by a senior Shanghai government official that the iPad was a very popular Christmas and New Year gift within government and business circles. Hardly a surprise.
To those who have already bought an iPad, don’t be too disheartened – pass it on to your son or even grandson. Like a Qianlong dynasty vase is now worth tens of millions of dollars, first-generation iPads may someday be a national treasure too!

ipad

By George Chen
The opinions expressed are the author’s own.

Let me offer you a choice before you read this column – do you want the good news first, or the bad news?

In fact, it’s the same story. For those who recently bought a first-generation iPad, here is the bad news – Foxconn Electronics, manufacturer of Apple Inc products, plans to begin shipping a new version of the iPad tablet, known as iPad 2, by as early as the end of February, according to a Dec. 7 news report by DigiTimes.

The report, citing unnamed sources from the Taiwan-based components maker, said the iPad 2 would mainly be supplied by plants in Shenzhen belonging to Foxconn, parent of Hon Hai Precision Industry. An initial shipment of 400,000 to 600,000 units is expected.

And the good news? Hon Hai investors and those who want an iPad but have yet to buy one should be happy.

For Apple fans in China, the next big question is of course when the new iPad 2 will arrive in the world’s No.2 economy. Consumers there have already complained about long back orders for the iPad and iPhone 4 since the two products were launched earlier this year. As such, specialist “Apple smugglers” from Hong Kong to mainland China should be happy to see new arbitrage opportunities!

Chinese gadget makers may soon catch up with this opportunity to add whatever new functions the iPad 2 may have to their own “iPad killers”. Hong Kong- and Shenzhen-listed ZTE Corp launched a tablet PC in October that sells for a far lower price than its Apple counterpart, and we should expect more Chinese competition for Apple in 2011. Or should I say innovation?

Despite fast-rising inflation, Chinese consumers have yet to stop buying new gadgets, as higher salaries means more disposable income.

Products such as the iPad also fit the show-off culture of the so-called “new money” class in China — those who are much richer than the middle-class and who become rich within just a few years for various reasons, such as successful property speculation — so Apple should not be worried that Chinese consumers will tighten their budgets for non-necessities and high-tech devices next year.

During a recent visit to my hometown Shanghai, I was told by a senior Shanghai government official that the iPad was a very popular Christmas and New Year gift within government and business circles. Hardly a surprise.

To those who have already bought an iPad, don’t be too disheartened – pass it on to your son or even grandson. Like a Qianlong dynasty vase is now worth tens of millions of dollars, first-generation iPads may someday be a national treasure too!

George Chen is a Reuters editor and columnist based in Hong Kong.

Photo: A customer buys an iPad at an electronic products store in Hefei, Anhui province April 22, 2010. REUTERS/Stringer

Comments
3 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

How much Apple is paying Reuters for that kind of article. That’s an ad not news. Besides iPad is just a useless expensive pile of junk. who needs that ?

Posted by bluemojo | Report as abusive
 

i’m no hacker. my last program was in fortran iv. i have noticed however that early versions of electronics often become coveted because once a company realizes how their electronics have been hacked they engineer hardware into later versions that cause it to brick if hacked. knowing nothing about the ipad (couldn’t recognize it in public) it would not surprise me if it became a hot item. the barnes & noble “nook” is a current example. early serial numbers can be nicely hacked, higher numbers have hardware revisions to block hacks.

Posted by bigturkey | Report as abusive
 

I am for China, Taiwan and Hong Kong unity. The result will be the world’s number 1 market. So Taiwan and its innovative market have to rethink and ask themselves, why settle for just US supplier when you can be the world’s leading market and reverse the cycle that exists now between the Han nation and the Americans.

China is very open minded, very low in racism and very welcoming to all foreign people.

China is making more friends than the US and by 2050, it will be world’s largest market so Taiwan has to rethink. Hong Kong has to be more open to their mainland brothers.

Ipad is a symbol of US icon however its made in China and Taiwan and both get no credit for it.

Go China, Go Taiwan, Go HK!!

Posted by Somali_Pirate | Report as abusive
 

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