Xiao argues that IT product prices won't matter, as Chinese already tend to pay a lot for home appliances, seeing their quality as a long-term investment.

But what other than price would explain Apple's ( AAPL) second-quarter market share decline in China, to 10%? The seller of those expensive icons remains a status symbol in China but one that's often out of budgetary reach. Apple share prices have fallen since mid-September on supply issues (unrelated to China) concerning its iPhone 5.

Hewlett-Packard will be mindful of its brand, service and prices as it tries to keep a lead. According to the state-run China Daily newspaper, HP expects China to help it reach $7 billion in global profits next year. HP's chief American rival Dell ( DELL) said two years ago it would spend $250 billion on production, procurement and sales in China by 2020.

Xiao picks Lenovo as the likely second-tier market leader. But any company mentioned here stands to increase sales in middle-tier China, offsetting post-financial crisis consumer demand problems in the West. Gains in sales would keep share prices afloat for old-guard tech firms and send emerging ones much higher.

At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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