Tue, Nov 18, 2003 - Page 10 News List

BenQ expects its laptop shipments to triple next year


Global shipments of BenQ Corp's (明基電通) brandname laptop computers are expected to triple next year as more people replace their desktop computers with mobile alternatives, officials from the leading Taiwanese computer peripheral maker said yesterday.

BenQ is expected to see shipments of its branded "Joybook" laptops to triple next year to 300,000 units from the 100,000 units estimated for this year, Peter Chen (陳其宏), head of BenQ's digital multimedia department, told reporters yesterday.

"It's time to dump those old computers since [consumers last replaced their computers] in 2000," Chen said.

"The pace will speed up next year as a desktop, or laptop, only has a life of three to four years," he added.

BenQ's shipment growth will outpace that of the rest of the notebook industry.

Global shipments are expected to surge by 20 percent next year to about 45.12 million units, compared to the estimated 37.6 million units for this year, according to Grace Chen (陳星嘉), a PC industry analyst at Insight Pacific (月涵投顧).

"It's not difficult to see a twofold or threefold increase in sales of BenQ's digital multimedia department next year," Chen said.

"This is because we have more products to hit the market and BenQ started from a smaller base," Chen said.

The US market is expected to be one of the fastest-growing areas for BenQ, said Jerry Wang (王文燦), general manager of BenQ's sales department.

Sales in the US soared by nearly 50 percent to about US$300 million in the first three quarters, compared to sales of US$200 million recorded a year ago, Wang said, adding that the momentum is expected to carry into next year.

The jump in laptop shipments will also push up sales of BenQ's branded computers to around NT$10 billion next year from NT$2 billion this year, Chen added.

BenQ rolled out its first laptop in the first half of this year, and plans to launch its first desktop computer next month.

Though sales of the digital multimedia department only accounted for 8 percent of BenQ's total revenue of NT$32.08 billion in the third quarter, Chen expected to see the contribution rise into the double digits during the current quarter and continue to rise next year along with the launch of a new product lineup.

The Insight Pacific analyst holds a positive view about the company's outlook.

"Though the department's sales contribution is now very minimal, the branded products will be one of the important factors driving up BenQ's profitability as the gross margin of those products is much higher than the LCD monitors made by the company," Chen commented.

In the last quarter, 56 percent of BenQ's sales came from flat-screen liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors.

BenQ's digital multimedia department designs and produces brand-name notebooks, LCD televisions, projectors and DVD recorders among other computer-related electronics.

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