Tue, Nov 25, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Analysts expect full recovery in IT industry

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The outlook for the world's information-technology sector for next year is rosier due to a pickup in corporate spending and strong consumer purchasing, an industry-association leader said yesterday.

"The [global] IT industry is recovering but its strength appears weaker than expected as the demand mostly came from consumer spending," said Frank Huang (黃崇仁), chairman of the Taipei Computer Association (台北市電腦公會).

Huang, also chairman of Powerchip Semiconductor Corp (力晶半導體), said he's optimistic about next year as he expects an improvement in corporate spending.

"The recovery in corporate spending will fuel growth in the IT industry throughout the first half of 2004," he said, echoing Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) chairman Morris Chang's (張忠謀) upbeat outlook for the industry.

Last week, Chang reiterated that the industry started to pick up gradually in the second quarter of this year and that the recovery will carry into all of next year.

Huang made the remarks on the sidelines of a press gathering yesterday to kick off the IT Month exposition this Saturday. Wireless communication and mobility will be the theme for the month-long trade show.

The annual industry gala is scheduled to run from Nov. 29 to Dec. 7 at the Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall. It will then move south to Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung.

Some 350 companies, up 6 percent from 330 last year, will set up 1,800 booths to showcase their products and latest technologies during the show in Taipei.

Local electronics companies are expected to roll out more new products to boost sales during the event, with BenQ Corp (明基電通) announcing recently that it will unveil its first desktop PC during the event.

"It is almost time for companies to replace their old computers since the last overhaul in 2000," Huang said.

IT Month has been regarded as an opportunity for consumers to purchase consumer electronics products -- such as notebook PCs, desktop PCs, digital cameras and game consoles -- at bargain prices.

This year the event is expected to attract more than 2 million visitors, compared with 1.89 million visitors last year, said Tina Tseng (曾春敏), a computer-association official.

But consumers may be disappointed with the offering of liquid-crystal-display (LCD) monitors and LCD televisions this year, a BenQ official said.

"Consumers are not expected to see a stiff price drop for LCD monitors and LCD televisions as panel prices remain high due to tight supply," said Danny Yao (姚鴻州), BenQ's sales director for Taiwan. "The room for a price cut is very limited. We'll offer giveaways instead."

BenQ will showcase laptops as well as 17-inch and 19-inch LCD monitors during the nine-day exposition. With 16 booths, BenQ is the largest exhibitor among the 350 participants.

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦), one of the nation's major motherboard makers, also said it did not plan to wage a price war during the trade show. Asustek said it will instead focus its promotion campaign on notebooks.

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