China's Hanvon Launches E-Reader In Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- Hanvon Technology Co., China's biggest e-reader vendor, on Monday launched its latest e-reader in Taiwan, aiming to expand its share of Chinese-language markets.

Hanvon called its six-inch e-reader, a "joint product between China and Taiwan" containing the Hanvon-developed Chinese handwriting recognition system, paper display by Taiwan's E-Ink Holdings and the finished product assembled by Taiwanese hardware makers.

With the initial Taiwan launch, the N620 e-reader -- sold for 12,000 New Taiwan dollars ($380) -- will have access to 2,000 books written in the more complicated Chinese characters used in Taiwan, officials said.

China uses simplified characters to help promote literacy, while the complicated form is used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and most other Chinese communities.

Hanvon executive Ray Zhang said the company is seeking to establish a digital reading platform that will give Taiwanese readers access to its online store that currently contains more than 100,000 books.

Hanvon also hopes to export Taiwan-published books to mainland and overseas Chinese readers, Zhang said.

Taiwanese publications "may have a greater appeal" as they reflect the island's more diversified culture and democracy, Zhang said.

"E-readers will become a bridge for deeper understanding of cultures and business models of our two sides," he said.

To capture consumers of various income levels, Hanvon has launched more than 30 e-reader models in China, some as cheap as 1,000 Chinese yuan ($145).

Zhang said Hanvon's online sales are not as threatened by China's notorious piracy problems as paperbacks, noting it takes greater efforts to break the digital code that bars unauthorized access.

Research firm Display Search has predicted e-reader sales to reach 3 million units in China in 2010, about 30 percent of total world sales.
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