Wed, Oct 01, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Acer PC prices rise after 6 years

MORE EXPENSIVE PARTS The planned increase in computer prices, the first since 1997, will reflect the rising cost of parts and a shortage of flat-panel display screens

BLOOMBERG

Acer Inc said it plans to increase computer prices for the first time in about six years to reflect rising parts costs.

Prices of flat-panel displays for notebook PCs have been rising about US$5 each month for the past four months, Acer vice president Campbell Kan (甘博隆) said in an interview. Screen shortages will probably persist until the first quarter next year, he said.

The price increases are taking place amid strong demand for notebook computers, investors say. Aided by strong notebook sales, PC shipments will probably rise 8.4 percent to 148.2 million units this year, market researcher IDC said on Sept. 8.

"Surveys in the US show that demand for notebooks is very good," said Michael Ding (丁予嘉), a fund manager at International Investment Trust Co (國際投信).

"Notebook computers are going to perform well," he said.

Notebook computers account for about 65 percent of sales, Acer said.

Yesterday on the TAIEX, Acer gained 50 cents, or 1.1 percent, to NT$46.50.

"Price increases for Acer products will be within 2 percent," company spokeswoman Stella Chou (周之新) said, responding to a Chinese-language newspaper report that cited company president Wang Chen-tang (王振堂).

Chou didn't say how soon the company will raise prices.

Flat-panel prices have been rising because Taiwanese suppliers have been entering the TV business, Kan said. The TV screens, as much as four times the size of a notebook PC panel, have crimped supplies in the notebook PC business, he said.

Acer's sales will increase about 30 percent this quarter from the second quarter's NT$15.7 billion (US$465 million) and grow another 30 percent in the fourth quarter, Chou said.

The company expects a foreign-currency loss of about NT$100 million this quarter because of the euro's appreciation, the newspaper said. Acer counts on Europe for about 55 percent of sales, Wang said earlier in June.

Acer, the world's No. 7 maker of personal computers, expects to ship 2.5 million desktop PCs this year and 2 million notebooks, raising its global market share to about 4 percent.

The company has been among the first to offer laptops that use Intel Corp's Centrino chips, which can connect to the Internet through a radio link, according to Kelly Wu (吳惠瑜), Intel's general manager in Taiwan.

Acer said it has returned to the US retail computer market in a partnership with Best Buy Co, the biggest US electronics chain.

Best Buy has agreed to take orders for Acer notebook computers, which the company will ship directly to buyers, helping the US partner save warehousing costs, Kan said.

Acer slipped to the world's No. 7 seller of personal computers from No. 5 after retreating from US retailing in 1999.

Acer and rivals are trying to mirror No. 2 personal computer maker Dell Inc, which sells its products directly to buyers who place orders on the phone or through the Internet.

Acer plans to undercut rivals such as No. 1 Hewlett-Packard Co and Toshiba Corp, which Acer said have started selling through a combination of direct and retail channels to customers.

"Acer has committed to doing channel business only in the US," Kan said. "The channel retailers are not so comfortable working with Toshiba and Hewlett-Packard."

This story has been viewed 3490 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top