Mon, Jul 28, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Shoppers lured by computer show deals

By Annabel Lue  /  STAFF REPORTER

With the 13th Taipei Computer Applications Show set to kick off at the Taipei World Trade Center on Wednesday, retailers are well-prepared to lure shoppers with significant discounts on a variety of computers, printers, digital cameras as well as PC games.

A total of 280 foreign companies and local brands will set up 1,400 booths at this event -- the nation's second largest annual consumer electronic shows next to Info Month, which attracted 700,000 visitors last December.

Vendors are poised to make a windfall to compensate for their losses from SARS.

"Due to the fear of SARS, many people stayed at home between April and last month, and therefore our computer sales saw a slight slide in that period," said Hank Hung (洪漢青), an executive in IBM Taiwan's personal-computing division.

But IBM started to see a significant sales growth from late last month, he said.

"Therefore we believe consumer spending on this year's [computer applications] show will be strong," Hung said.

The company sold 54,800 IBM notebooks nationwide last year, a 22-percent jump from 2001.

In an effort to reach sales targets, Big Blue has decided to offer big discounts.

Prices of the IBM ThinkPad R40 notebook, powered by an Intel Celeron 1.6GHz processor, are to be cut by some NT$5,000, now going for NT$32,900 each.

IBM Taiwan also plans to whip up a shopping frenzy at the beginning of the event by offering the ThinkPad R40 at NT$29,900 to the first 329 people buying the model.

This is the first time the company will retail its notebook for less than NT$30,000, Hung said.

Not to be outdone, rival Hewlett-Packard Taiwan has decided to go head-to-head with Big Blue.

Targeting students, the company plans to sell the entry-level HP Presario 2100 notebook powered by an Intel Celeron 1.8GHz processor for NT$29,900.

Severe competition has made Taiwan one of the best markets for computer bargain-hunters, with retail prices of some IBM notebooks 40 percent lower in Taiwan than in Western countries, according to Hung.

Local brands such as Acer Inc (宏電), Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦), Leo Systems Inc (國眾) and BenQ Corp (明基電通) are also ready to lure consumers with bargains as well as new products.

BenQ, which launched its own notebook dubbed the Joybook earlier this year, has decided to feature 12 new models at the show.

Computer game makers will also have a high profile, with companies including Softstar Entertainment Inc (大宇資訊), Soft-World International Co (智冠科技) and Waei International Digital Entertainment Co (華義) setting up nearly 100 booths between them to share their multimedia products with game players.

The show will run from Wed-nesday at 10am until 6pm in Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall I and will run through Aug. 3.

Admission is NT$200. Free admission is available for visitors entering between 10am and 12pm on the first day.

The show is expected to draw in more than 200,000 visitors, according to the Taipei Computer Association (TCA, 台北電腦公會), organizer of the annual show.

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