Apple to launch new MacBook Air models in China

Apple is preparing to finally launch its mid-2011 MacBook Air models in the coming weeks according to checks performed by Ticonderoga Securities. In a note to investors on Friday morning, Ticonderoga’s Brian White recounts channel checks indicating Apple’s authorized resellers in the greater China region are set to begin receiving mid-2011 MacBook Air models as soon as next week. The analyst believes the imminent launch could be a big hit for Apple due to the growing popularity of Apple products in China, as well as the increasing number of consumers who can afford to own a PC. White also notes that “there is no laptop product on the market with the characteristics of the new MacBook Air,” which is likely to draw considerable attention. Apple’s new notebooks launched in Hong Kong over this past week, and White says the launch was met with big demand, and consumers there are also still clamoring for the iPhone 4 and iPad 2. Read on for more.

“Our checks in Hong Kong indicate the new MacBook Air was launched over the past week at local authorized resellers,” White wrote on Friday morning. “The launch was met with long lines and stock outs of certain new MacBook Air models. Surprisingly, we also heard that certain resellers sold out of the iPhone 4 over the past week, along with certain models of the iPad 2. Although the iPhone 4 was sold out for a couple of months during the early days of the launch in late 2010 in Hong Kong, we have not been aware of recent stock outs in Hong Kong until now. Keep in mind, Apple is preparing to open its first store in Hong Kong this fall and historically has relied on local resellers to support this market.”

The analyst continued, “Regarding mainland China, our field checks indicate that several Apple authorized resellers in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen are experiencing stock outs of the previous version of MacBook Air, which we believe is in preparation for the launch of the new MacBook Air. For example, our checks indicate the new MacBook Air will launch in China as early as next week at some stores (i.e., Apple or authorized resellers) and in September at others. Apple currently has four stores in mainland China but has plans for expansion in Huangzhou and Sichuan later this year.” China overtook the United States last quarter to become the world’s top PC market by shipment volume. “With IDC naming China the largest PC market in the world this week based on 2Q11 shipment data, we believe investors should increasingly think about the Mac opportunity for Apple in China over the next few years,” White added.

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