Microsoft eyes bigger slice of city's media tablet market

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 July, 2014, 1:41am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 July, 2014, 1:41am

Microsoft expects to carve out a bigger niche in Hong Kong's HK$5 billion media tablet market in the second half of this year with the launch of its new laptopreplacement device - the Surface Pro 3.

"We estimate Windows tablet sales in Hong Kong to record triple-digit growth in the next 12 months after the release of the Surface Pro 3 by the end of August," Horace Chow Chok-kee, the general manager at Microsoft Hong Kong, told the South China Morning Post.

That is a bold target for Microsoft in a market where Apple's iPad has been the perennial top seller. The city's other major tablet suppliers include Samsung Electronics, AsusTek, Sony and Lenovo, all of whom run Google's Android operating system.

Market research firm GfK estimated that tablet sales last year in Hong Kong reached HK$5.5 billion on 1.6 million units purchased, up from HK$5.3 billion and 1.3 million units in 2012.

Chow said Microsoft, which released its first Surface-brand tablet in October 2012, was enjoying strong momentum in Hong Kong after the strong showing of the Surface Pro 2 model, which sold out at retail stores.

"We're getting a lot of pressure from retailers to meet the expected high demand for the Surface Pro 3," he said.

First released last month in America, the Surface Pro 3 features a 12-inch, full high-definition display, magnesium casing, fourth-generation Intel Core chip, up to 8 gigabytes of internal memory and Windows 8.1 Pro operating system. It weighs about 800 grams and is just 9.14mm thick - about 30 per cent thinner than Apple's MacBook Air laptop with 11-inch display.

Scott Rockfeld, Microsoft's director of marketing for the Surface, said the new model's improved features and accessories, such as a cover that doubles as a keyboard, makes it "the tablet that can replace your laptop".

Bryan Ma, an associate vice-president for Asia-Pacific client devices research at IDC, said Microsoft seemed to have "ironed out all the kinks in its Windows tablet after several iterations". He said Microsoft shipped 2.3 million Surface tablets globally last year.