Microsoft’s Surface Promotion Signals the Growing Importance of Tablets in Chinese Schools

Microsoft recently announced an education promotion for its Surface RT tablets that offers deep discounts to schools and universities.  Under the program, Microsoft will offer Chinese students the 10.6” Surface RT tablet at $199 (versus a list price of $499), with official Office applications standard.  With e-education a critical part of education reform, Forrester sees two key trends driving strong tablet adoption in the education sector:

·       Continuous government investments in e-learning.  At both the central and local government levels, e-learning programs are underway to improve students’ information literacy as well as narrow the education resource gaps across the different regions in China.  For example, the “Digital Education Resources Full Coverage Project" was launched in November 2012 by the central government with funding of RMB 308 million ($49 million) to equip digital education devices for teaching venues across China.

·       Explosive growth in tablet adoption.Forrester forecasts the number of tablets for business, government or educational use to increase from about 19 million in 2012 to more than 83 million in 2016 in APJ, with China as one of the key growth engines. Noticing this growing opportunity, multiple city governments (e.g. Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou, etc.) have announced projects to purchase tablets for students’ usage in class.

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