July 18, 2014 3:27 am JST

Asus topples Apple as top tablet shipper in Japan

TOKYO -- Taiwan's Asus sold more tablets in Japan than Apple in the January-June period, its first time in the top spot for the half, according to figures released Thursday by market research company BCN.

     Asus' market share for tablets rose 8 percentage points from the year-ago period to 38.9%, edging past Apple's 36.4% share, based on BCN's survey of sales figures for 117 leading digital electronic products at 22 mass merchandisers.

     The average price for 7-inch tablets was just over 20,000 yen ($195) for Asus, considerably cheaper than Apple's 40,000 yen average.

     The Taiwanese manufacturer's product lineup was also a difference maker. Its Nexus 7, developed jointly with Google, and tablets running the Windows operating system from U.S. software maker Microsoft were popular. In addition, its strategy of attracting users interested in low prices proved effective with products developed in-house, including the MeMO Pad, which is priced under 20,000 yen.

     NEC Personal Computers stood atop the rankings in the notebook computer field, while Apple commanded a better than 50% share of the smartphone market. In 40-inch and larger televisions with liquid crystal displays, Sharp led the way, and Sony was No. 1 in so-called 4K TVs, for which test broadcasts have begun.

     Most digital electronics manufacturers saw sales volume rise in the first six months of the year. Sales were strong in advance of April's consumption tax hike, and the subsequent drop was not as steep as feared. Tablet sales volume in the first half overall was up nearly 20% on the year, and even grew in the April-June quarter.

     Smartphone and notebook computer sales, however, were sluggish in the April-June period. Notebook shipments rose 15.8% on the year for the full six months but declined 7.1% in the three months after the tax hike, partly due to slower demand to replace models running Windows XP. Smartphone sales fell 30% in the April-June term.

(Nikkei)