BEIJING: Dell, the information technology giant, has launched its new tablet, called the Streak, in China, the first market where this product has been made available.

The device will be priced at 2,999 yuan, making it the cheapest of Dell's stable of slates, as the firm tries to take on Apple's iPad in the world's most populous nation.

"The fact that we're launching it in China first underscores the importance of China to Dell overall," Michael Tatelman, Dell's vice president, consumer, sales and marketing, wrote on a corporate blog.

"More people are online in China than anywhere else in the world."

The Streak, which has a ten-inch screen, can be purchased both through Dell's Chinese website and from its network of retailers.

"We also have a significant retail presence in China, with thousands of Dell-authorised retailers in more than 2,000 cities - a footprint that helps us get even closer to people, understand what they are looking for, and to design experiences that help them pursue their passions," said Tatelman.

Research provider IDC forecast that over 900m people will use the internet for the first time in China during the next ten years, promising considerable potential for growth.

"Dell is committed to bringing new experiences to everyone - from consumers to small and medium businesses, to large enterprise customers," said Tatelman.

"And we're bringing our conversations and insights with those customers - individual, large and small; public and private - to build the best mobile experiences that help people here in China - and eventually elsewhere - bridge work and life."

At present, Dell boasts 9% of the Chinese PC market, and the company believes the tablet segment is at a much more nascent stage, meaning organisations with the right strategy can quickly gain a strong position.

Wang Jiping, a senior analyst at IDC, predicted 4.6m slates will be sold in China in 2011.

While Dell's tablet possesses an advantage in cost terms, it could face intense rivalry from the wide range of offerings set to go on sale.

"The price is competitive for the Chinese market. However, it is still too early to say, because a lot of new products will be launched this year," said Wang.

Data sourced from Dell/China Daily; additional content by Warc staff