Beijing: In an endevour to take on Apple's iPad, Chinese computer-maker Lenovo Group, has launched its new tablet computer LePad in Shanghai.

Based on the Android 2.2 operating system, LePad is launched with starting price of 3,499 yuan (USD 533) against the iPad's USD 800 price tag. LePad comes in two versions that support Wifi and 3G services.

For the time being, Lenovo said LePad will be sold only in China, but it will be marketed internationally from June.

Chen Xudong, the vice-president of the company, refused to provide sales forecasts for the LePad, but said the company plans to capture than 30 per cent of China's tablet computer
market during the next two to three years.

He also said that Lenovo's tablet computers will run between 5,000 and 8,000 applications by the end of the year.

Chen said that Apple's price-cutting strategy would put some pressure on companies such as Lenovo, but emphasised that Apple's strategy has also hurt many of its sales partners in

On March 2, Apple launched the iPad 2, which includes a major hardware upgrade and cut the price of the iPad 1.

According to market intelligence provider IDC, Chinese consumers had purchased at least 800,000 iPads by the end of 2010.

More tablet computers this year

The research firm estimated that about 2.5 million tablet PCs will be sold through official channels in China this year, more than doubling the number in 2010.

The fourth largest vendor of computers worldwide also plans to launch two or three more new tablet computers later this year.

Chen, said that Lenovo plans to launch a new tablet computer for corporate users over the next two quarters.

It will also launch the second version of its tablet computer, LePad, in the fourth quarter of this year.

"Like personal computers, different users will have different demands for tablet computers," he said. Chen said compared with traditional desktops and all-in-one computers, notebooks and netbooks will be most affected by the popularity of tablet computers.

He noted that in future, notebooks may have to install a mobile operating system that is more responsive to consumers' needs.

Chen Danqing, a spokesperson for Lenovo said the company also plans to launch a ThinkPad tablet computer in the near future.