Asustek, Acer aims at mid to low-price tablet market

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 - Page 14

Taiwanese computer makers Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) and Acer Inc (宏碁) see great potential in the low and middle-end tablet computer market and are launching more such products this year to expand their market shares despite expected fierce competition.

According to CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, shipments of “white-box” tablets –– those without a registered brand name –– are forecast to reach 100 million units worldwide this year, way above about 60 million units a year ago.

It could be a huge business opportunity to tap into the estimated US$10 billion to US$13 billion market this year, CLSA said.

Early last month, Asustek launched a 7-inch Android tablet called the Asus MeMO Pad in the US, retailing at US$149.

The company will launch more 7-inch tablets by the end of next month, with a full product portfolio priced between US$120 and US$300 after the great success of its quad-core Nexus 7, co-branded with Google Inc.

On Dec. 3, Asustek said it was optimistic aboout tablet sales and predicted that its tablet shipments would increase by 90 percent this year from last year.

During a five-day annual global sales meeting at the company’s Guandu (關渡) headquarters, Asustek said its tablet shipments were expected to increase to 12 million units this year from 6.3 million last year.

Acer, which shipped 1.8 million tablets last year, is also expecting to double its sales this year.

Following the strong demand for its 7-inch touchscreen Iconia B1, priced at NT$4,990 (US$170) in Taiwan, Acer will launch similar tablets in sizes of 8 and 10 inches this year, said Scott Lin (林顯郎), Acer’s senior vice president and president of its Greater China operations.

The two new devices are likely to start from around NT$6,000 and NT$7,000 respectively, when they hit the market by the third quarter of this year, Lin said.

Asustek’s shares closed up 2.59 percent at NT$356 in Taipei trading on Feb. 6, the last day of trading before the local stock market closed for the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday, while Acer’s share price was unchanged at NT$25.1, the Taiwan Stock Exchange’s statistics showed.