NetEase claimed that the device will be released around the third quarter of this year to "counter attack" the upcoming Windows tablets. The report further claims that the devices will cost anywhere from US$249 to $299 and that there will be an initial 6 million units ready for launch.
The interesting part here is that the original Chinese language source lists their source. You wouldn't know this unless you read Chinese (I don't) or unless you happen to have Google Translate bookmarked (I do). Guess who they got this story from? ZDNet.
In fact, I would bet that this ZDNet article from a couple weeks ago is probably one of the sources for NetEase.
All of a sudden that rumor isn't nearly as interesting, is it? Now you're not sure if this rumor is new, old, or pulled directly from someone's arse.
See, this is why I follow so many sources in other languages. Google Translate might not be the best tool but it sure as hell beats reading stuff second hand.
But the story is not over with yet. NetEase is also reporting a number of details that they didn't get from ZDNet, though the article does contain text that suggests that the author read extensively before writing that article. The new iPad Mini will cost $249-$299 (old), use a 7.85" screen (old), ship in Q3 (old), be assembled by Foxconn (duh), and it has an initial shipment of 6 million units.
That last bit is new. If NetEase got it from somewhere, I cannot find it. Copies of this rumor have now inundated Google, so there's little chance that older content might show up in the search.
I don't know about you, but I'm going to rate this rumor as unreliable. Yes, I'd like to believe it, but it doesn't even rise to the level of Digitimes for originality. Too much is old stuff.