China's biggest e-book maker Hanwang expects its reader shipments to triple this year on growing demand, but may see its market share and margins fall on intensifying competition, the company's chairman said.Hanwang now expects its gross profit margin to fall to about 30 percent from 50 percent previously, and its market share in China to fall to between 80 to 85 percent from 95 percent in 2009, Chairman Liu Yingjian told Reuters.
"The Internet, 3G connectivity and development in electronic book readers have all come together to change the e-book industry," Liu said in an interview over the weekend. "The paperless age has arrived."
The company sold about 200,000 e-book readers in the first quarter of this year, it said previously, compared to the 267,000 it sold in all of 2009. Each unit retails for about 1,200 to 3,300 yuan ($170-$485).
"Our market share will fall, that's without question, because the number of players will rise," he said. "But right now, there still isn't a single company in China that can threaten our place in the sector."