Apple hopes to dominate Taiwan's tablet market

The tech giant surprised Taiwanese manufacturers when it unveiled the first full-size iPad for $499.

By Benzinga Jun 18, 2013 2:55PM
copyright appleBy Louis Bedigian

The Taiwanese tablet market is set to grow exponentially this year, nearly doubling the hardware sales of 2012.

Executive VP and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Maxwell Cheng of Far EasTone Telecommunications (FETLF), told DigiTimes that 70% to 80% of those tablets will fall within the seven-inch range. Cheng's company alone hopes to sell roughly 300,000 units this year.

While two million may not sound like much for a full-year sales goal (one American tech giant sold three million tablets in just one weekend), the Taiwanese market is just beginning to rise. Apple (AAPL), which has been breaking sales record since the day the first iPad was released, has an opportunity to take control of this emerging market before it peaks.

There are roughly 23 million people living in Taiwan. With less than 10% of its citizens expected to buy a tablet in 2013, there is a lot of room for growth in 2014 and beyond.

Apple can cash in by strategically placing and promoting its own seven-inch tablet, the iPad Mini. But even without the Mini, Apple could still lead.

The company stunned its competitors (Guardian) when it unveiled the first full-size iPad for $499 -- a price that Apple has retained three years after launch. At the time, Taiwanese manufacturers thought the price was unexpectedly cheap. They had anticipated a price point in the $800 range, mirroring the strategy employed Apple's Mac line of computers.

Apple decided to sell the iPad within the range of its cheapest competitors, however. This forced Taiwanese manufacturers -- who had believed they could easily undercut an $800 price point -- to re-evaluate their tablet PC strategies (digitimes).

The full-size iPad was on store shelves for more than a year before a true competitor, Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle Fire, emerged. That device ultimately garnered 22% of the U.S. tablet market (Benzinga)

Amazon revealed that statistic without providing any sales data to give that number some meaning. Without any disputes from its competitors (Apple and Samsung made no effort to discredit Amazon's claims), however, there is no reason to believe that the information is false.

Apple has not said how many tablets it has sold in the U.S., Taiwan or any other nation. Instead of revealing that specific information, the company has compiled the quarterly sales of all iPad models into one lump sum.

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