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Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 12:53 pm PT (03:53 pm ET)

Apple's iPad suffers drastic decline in share of Chinese tablet market while cheap competitors grow

The second quarter of calendar 2013 saw Apple's share of sales in the Chinese tablet market drop significantly, to less than 30 percent, according to the latest data released by research firm IDC.

IDC


Despite losing its traditionally ironclad grip on the market — Apple has, to date, usually maintained more than 50 percent market share in China — the Cupertino company shipped nearly 3 times as many tablets as rival Samsung, its closest competitor. Apple took in a 28 percent share on 1.5 million units shipped, according to IDG News Service, while Samsung rang in with an 11 percent share while shipping 571,000 units.

Lenovo came in third with 8 percent on shipments of 413,000 units, and Asus, Acer, Huawei, Teclast, Onda, ZTE, and Microsoft rounded out the top 10 with 1 percent each. Notably, Amazon — whose Kindle Fire tablet officially debuted on the mainland in June — brought home less than one percent of the market in its inaugural quarter.

IDC analyst Dickie Chang attributed the lag in iPad shipments, down from 3 million in the first quarter, to inventory draw downs ahead of a hardware refresh. New versions of the iPad and iPad Mini are widely expected before the important holiday quarter.

The report went on to note that an uptick in demand for tablets running Google's Android operating system benefited not only electronics powerhouses Samsung and Lenovo, but also little-known "white box" vendors - low-volume manufacturers who market low-cost, feature-laden tablets.

“[The consumers] can use Android tablets from Samsung, Lenovo, or others from small white box vendor guys because the price is cheap," said Chang. "Some of these Android tablets, like those from Chinese vendor Onda, can start as low as 699 yuan ($113), and come built with a quad-core processor, 8-inch screen, and 5-megapixel camera."

The iPad's decline in China continues a recent trend for Apple as consumers around the world increasingly opt for Android tablets or Microsoft's Surface devices. An IDC report from early August showed Apple's worldwide shipments sliding by 14.1 percent year over year, while the company's worldwide tablet market share fell from 60.3 percent to 32.4 percent in the same period.