Published in Notebooks

White-box tablets selling like hot cakes

by on11 November 2013

Not just in emerging markets

Shipments of Chinese white-box tablets reached an estimated 25 million units in Q3, up 40.4 percent from a year ago.

According to Digitimes Research, as much as 80 percent of total volume was shipped overseas. White-box tablets are no longer reserved solely for the Chinese markets, they are gaining ground across the globe. In terms of form factors, 7-inchers still dominate the white box landscape. Although 8-inch tablets were expected to replace them, high costs and a limited supply of 8-inch panels limited shipments and drove costs up. However, this should change next year. Most white-box tablets are powered by Mediatek chips, although there are quite a few models powered by Rockchip and Allwinner parts. Mediatek still appears to be gaining market share.

So where is the demand coming from?

Emerging markets are scooping them up by the millions, but white-box tablets are also showing up in Europe and North America. They are often sold in bundle deals or given away in promotions. As gifts or toys for kids they make a lot of sense. Retail chains can also buy cheap tablets and slap their sticker on them, opening up new markets.

However, white-box outfits are facing an uphill struggle. Their margins are already very low and they are facing more pressure from brand name tablets. Many big companies are going cheap, with $149 or $99 tablets.

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