Taipei, May 11 (CNA) Taiwan telecom operators and retailers expressed optimism Friday about sales of Apple Inc.'s new iPad, with some anticipating higher demand than for the previous version of the tablet PC.
They forecast total sales figures of over 400,000 units by the end of the year for the latest iPad that went on sale in Taiwan earlier in the day.
Taiwan Mobile Co., the country's second largest carrier, said it had received pre-orders for 25,000 units of the 4G version of the new iPad since May 1 when pre-ordering opened, while Far EasTone Telecommunications Co. said its pre-order figure was 28,000 units.
Cliff Lai, co-president of Taiwan Mobile, acknowledged that only half of pre-orders usually convert into actual sales but said his company was nonetheless expecting to sell some 200,000 units by the endof the year.
Meanwhile, Far EasTone, Taiwan's No. 3 carrier, predicted sales of around 120,000 units, while its subsidiary retailer DataExpress Infotech Co. was eyeing 80,000 units.
Alison Kao, Far EasTone's spokeswoman, told CNA that the expected sales surge, which would include iPad accessories and 3G data service, could boost her company's revenues by about 20 percent.
It is the first time that Taiwan's telecom operators have gained distribution rights for Apple tablet PCs. Previously, only retailers such as Tsann Kuen Enterprise Co. and DataExpress were permitted to sell iPads in the country.
Chang Yueh-lung, a spokesman for Tsann Kuen, said the retailer expected to see higher sales figures for the new iPad than the iPad 2, as his company has come up with several promotional offers.
Although the telecom carriers will take some market share, retailers have the advantage of a more comprehensive range of products and better customer services, he said.
People began to line up in front of some of the company's stores before daybreak Friday to buy the new iPad, according Chang.
However, he declined to give any sales figures or estimates, saying only that he was "optimistic" about the numbers.
(By James Lee)