By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
September 16, 2010

The world’s most populous country is the 20th to get Apple’s tablet computer

Apple (AAPL) announced Monday that it will begin selling the Wi-Fi-only version of its “magical” iPad in China on Sept. 17.

[UPDATE: In a separate, Spanish-language press release, Apple also announced that the iPad will go on sale in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru the same day.]

The 3G iPad will be arriving in China at a later, unspecified date — a reversal of the sequence in which the iPhone was released in the world’s largest cell phone market. China Unicom (CHU) is the iPhone’s exclusive carrier in China. Apple has not yet announced a carrier for the iPad.

The Wi-Fi iPad will be available at Apple’s two Chinese retail stores (in Beijing and Shanghai) and at select authorized resellers. The price points (17% VAT included):

  • 16 GB: CNY3988 ($586.47) vs. $499 in the U.S.
  • 32 GB: CNY4788 ($704.11) vs. $599
  • 64 GB: CNY5588 ($821.75) vs. $699

According to Monday’s press release, Apple will roll the iPad out to more countries later this year.  It’s currently available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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