Fri, May 27, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Apple’s iPad 2 goes on sale in Taiwan today

OUTLETS:Far EasTone said an Internet access package would cost at least NT$775 per month. Taiwan Mobile Internet connection fees for the iPad will be NT$650

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff Reporter

Apple Inc’s iPad 2 is set to hit stores in Taiwan today, including electronics retailer Tsann Kuen Enterprise Co (燦坤) and Apple product authorized reseller Studio A Electronic Corp (晶實科技), more than two months after it debuted in the US.

Tsann Kuen and Studio A posted messages on their Web sites yesterday saying that the iPad 2 would be available today at selected outlets, but did not list prices. In the US, prices start at US$499.

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) yesterday said subscribers would pay a minimum of NT$775 per month for an unlimited Internet connection package for the iPad 2, while iPad 2 and service packages will also be available at electronics retailers Data Express Infotech Co (德誼數位科技) and Arcoa Communication Co (全虹通信). Far EasTone owns a major share in both companies.

Just the iPad 2, without any rate plans, will cost between NT$15,500 and NT$25,500, depending on storage space and wireless connection, Far EasTone said.

Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大) said it would offer a flat rate of NT$650 per month for Internet connection for the iPad 2.

Apple sold 4.69 million iPads in the first quarter of this year, commanding 80 percent of the new tablet device market.

It is expected to ship 47.96 million iPads this year, a huge increase from last year’s 14.77 million units, and accounting for nearly 70 percent of the global tablet market, market researcher Gartner Inc said last month.

However, an explosion on Friday at a Foxconn Technology Group (富士康) plant in Chengdu, China, that makes the new device has raised concern about supply of the popular gadget. Three Foxconn employees were killed and 15 injured in the blast.

South Korean researcher Displaybank Co yesterday said the explosion could curtail Foxconn’s iPad 2 shipment by up to 400,000 units, or 3 percent to 5 percent of its iPad 2 shipments.

That forecast was lower than the reduction of at least 500,000 units predicted by IHS iSuppli earlier this week.

Foxconn assembles iPad 2s primarily at its Chengdu and Shenzhen factories. Foxconn could now put off its plan to expand capacity at the Chengdu facility in July to the level at Shenzhen factories, Displaybank said.

Foxconn should be able to restore production at the facility by the middle of next month, Displaybank said, while three other casing plants would resume operations this week.

Meanwhile, a Foxconn worker in Chengdu committed suicide by jumping off a building yesterday morning, Hong Kong China News Agency reported, citing an unidentified source.

Edmund Ding (丁祈安) and Louis Woo (胡國輝), spokesmen for the Taipei-based company, did not answer calls to their mobile phones. The worker was a 20-year-old male, according to the report.

At least 12 Foxconn workers committed suicide last year, mostly in Shenzhen.

Labor groups, including China Labor Watch, have labeled the company a sweatshop, a claim Foxconn chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) and Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs have denied.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY BLOOMBERG

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