With assistance from Microsoft and Intel, China-based brand vendors and white-box players have been aggressively pushing new 2-in-1 devices recently. In addition to Huawei's MateBook and Haier's 2-in-1 devices, white-box players are releasing low-cost 2-in-1 products, which are expected to become strong threats to Taiwan-based vendors, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.
Huawei's MateBook, which shares a similar design to the Surface Pro 3, is priced between US$699-1,599, while Haier's 2-in-1 devices, which are similar to Asustek Computer's T100, are priced less than CNY1,500 (US$229).
White-box players such as Cube, LiveFan, Onda, Chuwi and Teclast also have several low-cost 2-in-1 devices for the market, especially Teclast's TBook-series, which will be released in March with hardware specifications similar to those of first-tier vendor's devices, but priced at only CNY1,200.
Asustek Computer and Acer are expected to face China players' fierce competition in the first quarter. Although Asustek is planning to release a new 2-in-1 with a design similar to the Surface Pro, its late arrival may put Asustek at a disadvantage, the sources noted.
The sources pointed out that demand for notebooks remains weak in the first half of 2016 and only 2-in-1 devices and gaming notebooks still have some demand. If brand vendors are not able to achieve results from the two markets, their overall notebook sales for 2016 are unlikely to see growth, especially with the increased competition from China-based players.