Microsoft's Surface tablet attracts crowd of first customers in Beijing

The Surface tablet will go up against the iPad, which dominates China's tablet market

Microsoft's newly launched Surface tablet attracted hundreds of buyers at a Beijing electronics store at midnight on Friday morning, with customers stating they had high hopes the device could offer an innovative user experience over rival tablets including Apple's iPad.

Among those waiting in line was 25-year-old Chen Shi, who got a Microsoft certificate for being the first in the world to receive the Surface tablet. Chen waited first in line for 30 hours, and said he was especially interested in Windows RT, the OS that runs on the device.

"The tablet supports more software features for office work, things that you would actually use," he said. "Basically, Microsoft is reinventing the tablet, because now people are used to using their tablets as toys, and only use them to play games. These tablets lack features to do work for the office."

Microsoft is launching its Surface tablet in China in order to tap into one of the world's largest markets, where PC and smartphone shipments have already overtaken the U.S. But the company will have to go up against Apple, which had a 69 percent share in China's tablet market in this year's second quarter, according to research firm IDC.

Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets, already available in the U.S., have yet to officially arrive in the country. But lower-priced Android tablets have been made available through Chinese PC maker Lenovo, which had the second largest tablet market share in the country, at 12 percent. Samsung is the third largest tablet vendor in China with a 4 percent share.

Along with its own online sales channel, Microsoft is using Chinese retailer Suning Electronics, which has hundreds of stores in the country, to sell its Surface tablet. The prices for the device are also comparable with Apple's iPad.

But while the Surface tablet boasts an impressive design and features localized for the Chinese market, the device could still be a hard sell for consumers in the country, given the iPad's popularity in China, said Kitty Fok, an analyst with IDC. "[The Surface tablet] is not really a low price product," she said. "For the people who can buy it, they probably have an iPad already."

Some Apple users in Beijing, however, said they wanted to buy Microsoft's Surface tablet because it offered something different over other tablets. "This is the first time Microsoft is coming out with something like this. It's something fresh," said Chen Lei, who owns an iPad, but was waiting in line to buy Microsoft's tablet.

He thinks that Microsoft's Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets could gain popularity in the country because of their productivity features, including a version of the new Office 2013 suite.

"Once people hear that these tablets have Office on them, then I think it will become popular," he added.

Wang Hui, a 25-year old, was also in line, and said she wanted to buy the Surface tablet because of features such as its Type Cover and sleek design.

"I feel like everyone has an iPad. I don't want to buy the same thing as everyone else," she said. "I think the Surface tablet can become popular in China. It's what all my friends have been talking about."

But not everyone was so optimistic about the device's prospects in China. Kang Zheng, who is 23, also waited in line to buy the Surface tablet. But he criticized Windows RT for not being able to run legacy Windows software. The iPad, on the other hand, can run a vast number of apps from Apple's App Store.

"I don't think the Surface will be more popular than the iPad," he said. "There is so much software the Surface tablet can't use, and the price is still too high."

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftWindowshardware systemstabletssoftwareoperating systems

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Xiro Drone Xplorer V -3 Axis Gimbal & 1080p Full HD 14MP Camera

Learn more >

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >


Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on Good Gear Guide

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?