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Apple’s grip on China tablet market loosens

SEOUL — Apple’s grip on China’s tablet market has loosened as Asian tech companies increase sales with cheaper Android devices, a market report showed Thursday.

Dickie Chang, senior market analyst at research firm IDC, said Apple supplied 28 percent of tablet computers in China during the April-June quarter, down from 49 percent a year earlier.

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The iPad maker was still the biggest tablet supplier in China, its key growth engine, but momentum has slowed.

Apple sold 1.48 million iPads in the period, up 28 percent over a year earlier, but sales of Galaxy tablets made by Samsung Electronics Co. quadrupled to 571,000 units. Samsung claimed 11 percent tablet market share, up from 6 percent.

China’s Lenovo and Taiwan’s ASUS and Acer also had a surge in their market share. Chang said these companies benefited from offering less expensive tablets and from consumer familiarity with the Android operating system, which is used in many smartphone models.

‘‘If Apple cuts the price of previous generations of product like it did in phones, then more consumers would love to buy Apple’s iPad,’’ he said in an e-mail.

China is a key market for consumer technology companies as growth in sales of smartphones and tablets slows in more developed countries.

Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook told the official Xinhua News Agency in January that China will become the company’s biggest market.

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