Research firm IDC reports that iPad shipments to China fell sharply during the second quarter of 2013, dropping from over 50 percent of the country's tablet market to only 28 percent. The iPad is still the top tablet in China, with Samsung grabbing an 11 percent share and Lenovo an 8 percent piece of the pie.
Analyst Dickie Chang noted that there was strong demand for low-priced Android tablets from "white box vendors" -- that is, very generic devices from relatively unknown manufacturers. Chang said that "...consumers are becoming more familiar with the tablet product. They can use Android tablets from Samsung, Lenovo or others from small white box vendor guys because the price is cheap."
How cheap? An Android tablet from Chinese manufacturer Onda sells for as little as 699 yuan (US$113) equipped with a quad-core processor, 8-inch screen and a 5-megapixel camera. A total of 46 percent of all tablet shipments came from vendors that IDC listed as "others" -- that means that individually, they each had a market share of less than 1 percent.
Apple can take some solace in the fact that Microsoft's share of the Chinese tablet market is less than 1 percent, with only 37,000 units shipped.
Confusingly, Chang also noted that the drop in iPad units shipped could just be Apple reducing inventories of the iPad and iPad mini in preparation for the introduction of new models. It appears that only time will tell if Chinese consumers are really jumping away from the iPad, or just waiting for the latest and greatest models from Cupertino.