Apple's iPad Mini is creating a frenzy among Chinese tablet buyers, according to Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White.
Checks of retailers in China and Hong Kong show "an insatiable appetite" for the Mini, leading to a supply shortage, White said in an investors note out today. Stores in China are out of stock, while those in Hong Kong are sold out of nearly all flavors of the 7-inch tablet.
The iPad Mini is proving much more popular in China and Hong Kong than its bigger 4th-generation brother, which remains in stock.
"Prior to the China launch, we indicated that the iPad Mini would be the 'next big thing in China' and we believe this phenomenon is starting to develop," White said in his note. "In our view, the smaller form factor and lower price point will allow Apple to sell the iPad Mini in more meaningful volumes versus the regular-size iPad."
The Mini and the 4th-gen iPad debuted in Hong Kong on November 2 and in China on December 7.
Apple recently opened new retail stores in Shenzhen, Chengdu, and Beijing, and now has eight stores in China, compared with five a year ago. Hong Kong now is home to three Apple stores from just one a year ago.
The iPhone 5 is also seeing strong demand across China, according to White. Unlike the iPad Mini, Apple's latest phone is available for walk-in customers as its supply has improved. But the new iPhone seems to be outshining the competition.
"After the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note I/II became more popular than the iPhone 4S in recent months, our discussions now indicate that the iPhone 5 has recently become the most popular high-end smartphone at the resellers that we spoke with," White said.