Hongkongers top tablet computer users

A global survey reveals that one in six Hong Kong people own a tablet computer – that’s six times the world average, according to a market research conducted by TNS. The survey involved 34,000 people across 43 countries over the past year. Even if there were only 501 Hong Kong people involved in the research, the results seems to reveal the huge appetite of Hongkongers when it comes to mobile gadgets.

Results indicate that locals are more keen on owning the latest gadgets than counterparts from other developed nations. 17 per cent of respondents in Hong Kong say they own a tablet, whereas global average stood only at 3 per cent. Such a finding isn’t surprising in a city obsessed with efficiency and where multitasking is a norm. Supported with well-established communications infrastructure — virtually all areas in the territory are covered with mobile phone signals — tablet PCs offer convenience for both work and personal tasks. People find it handy to use tablet computers when commuting such as in trains and buses, in coffee shops or in parks.

Need more convincing of how obsessed Hong Kong people are with such devices? When Apple announced its release of iPad 2, excited locals didn’t have to wait for the official release in the city; parallel imports from America were quickly snapped up even if new models were priced as high as HK$14,000 (US$1,794) each in the black market. For comparison’s sake, the current price for iPad 2 with Wi-Fi and 3G is less than HK$6,500.

If owning a tablet computer may not be indicative enough of the general sentiment of locals, take this. A further 50 per cent of Hong Kong respondents expressed interest in buying a tablet, much higher than the global average of just 15 per cent. Only 27 per cent of them indicate they’ll replace their PCs with tablets as the majority agreed such a device is complementary to computers they already own. That’s because a specific device serves a specific purpose. For example, respondents prefer to play games on tablet devices, personal computers for online banking, sending e-mails or browsing the Internet on PCs and mobile phones are for playing music and location navigation.

According to Cheung Man-chun, sales and marketing manager of distributor Jebsen & Co, there are already about 500,000 tablets sold in Hong Kong since last year, and that 400,000 mobile phones are sold every month, half of them smartphones. No wonder the long established trend of Hong Kong as a place with high mobile phone penetration rate remains as stable as ever.