Hong Kong proves itself the spiritual home of the tablet

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The Independent Tech

While the world's computer makers are pinning their futures on the "tablet revolution," it seems consumers are taking their time to catch on. Except, that is, in Hong Kong.

Already one in six Hongkongers - or 17 percent - are proud owners of one of the devices, a rate that is six times the global average of three per cent, according to a new report.

What's more, 50 percent of people here say they expect to purchase a tablet, far higher than the global average of just 15 percent of the general community.

Global market research company TNS has pieced together the report on tablet sales as part of its Mobile Life series, which aims to "provide a deep understanding of today's global mobile device consumers." TNS polled 34,000 people across 43 countries in compiling the report.

Compared to Hong Kong, just 2.1 percent of Chinese respondents said they owned a tablet (with 5.9 percent saying they planned to buy one), while the figures recorded from the United States were 5.3 percent ownship and 20.3 percent of people who were still making plans for purchase.

Other results of the report from Hong Kong saw the new tablets as the preferred device for such activities as e-reading (52 percent of those polled) and playing games (33 percent), while still using their personal computers as the device they turn to when emailing, fixing up their online banking accounts or surfing the internet.

Around 500,000 tablets have been sold in Hong Kong in the past 12 months, in a city of around seven million people, according to industry sources, with "nine out of 10" being Apple iPads. How many of the devices were bought by locals and how many by tourists could not be confirmed.

A report released earlier this year by the Strategy Analytics international research company estimated that the global tablet market would be worth US$49 billion (34 billion euros) by 2015 with 150 million tablets sold. Last year 17 million were sold around the world, with 14.8 million of them being Apple iPads.