On April 2, the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet launched in China, along with a Chinese exclusive version called the "Surface Chinese."
China became the first country outside the U.S. and Canada to receive the Surface Pro. It seems that Microsoft is directing all efforts to penetrate deeper into the Chinese tablet market, with the launch of Surface Chinese.
The Surface Chinese includes the same hardware specifications as the Surface Pro tablet; however, there are some differences in the software.
The Surface Chinese has the Windows 8 (Basic) version when compared to the Windows 8 Pro version found in the Surface Pro tablet.
The user interface (UI) of the Surface Pro can be tweaked to enable Chinese language with the online lingual expansion pack. The default language of Surface Chinese is Chinese, which cannot be switched. The tablet does not allow users to add another language from the Control Panel either. Therefore, it is essential that you know Chinese if you intend to purchase the Surface Chinese tablet.
If you buy the Surface Pro you get one month's free trial of Office 365 Home Premium. On the other hand, you get Office 2013 Home and Student (permanent license) with the Surface Chinese.
Both the tablets, Surface Pro and the Surface Chinese (128GB version), have the same price tag of Yuan 7388 ($1191 approximately). The 64 GB version of Surface Chinese carries a price tag of Yuan 6588 ($1062 approximately). Interestingly, Microsoft did not launch the 64GB variant of the Surface Pro tablet in China.
Microsoft also revealed a new design of Touch Cover for the Surface tablets: The Year of Snake (2013 limited edition).
China has become an attractive market for many brands. Recent reports indicate that Apple is also trying hard to establish a foothold in China. We will have to wait and see how the newly launched Surface tablets fare in the region, and if they are able to make a place for themselves in the highly competitive Chinese market.