While Apple's (AAPL) iPad has been a smashing hit, there is an onslaught of competitors gunning for the market. These include Windows 7 slates and also $35 Indian tablets. There's even buzz that Research In Motion (RIMM) will come out with the BlackPad.
So, to keep up its lead, Apple is working furiously to build supply as well as penetrate new markets. And yes, it looks like the company will move into China, perhaps as early as next month. To this end, China Unicom (CHU) will be the exclusive carrier for the iPad. This will also include the distribution of the highly popular iPhone 4.
No doubt, China is critical. The country is not only the world's second largest economy but also the number one mobile market. Oh, and China Unicom is the second largest mobile operator in China, with roughly 315 million subscribers. So, even a small percentage of iPad purchased would move the needle.
Of course, this summer Apple opened its second store in China and plans to open 25 more, which should help stir excitement. All in all, it's an intense effort to find more growth, which China definitely offers.