Thu, Jul 29, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Taipei Computer Applications Show opens its doors

NEW LAPTOP CROP After seven months of sluggish sales, notebook makers hope to turn things around with new models and special offers

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nation's notebook computer vendors had mixed views on how much the Taipei Computer Appli-cations Show, which starts today, could spur the market -- especially after the industry's sluggish second quarter and this month.

The exhibition, which features 1,700 booths by 400 companies at Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall I and III, runs through to Monday.

"We have seen a tough second quarter, during which consumer confidence dropped," Dennis Chen (陳敬宏), senior manager of imaging and printing group at Hewlett-Packard (HP) Taiwan Ltd, told reporters yesterday.

"In light of the lukewarm response in the multimedia show held in early July, we don't dare to be too bullish about the application exhibition," he said.

Even so, HP still expects its laptop sales to grow 20 percent year-on-year in the five-day show, Chen said.

The first-generation Centrino central processing units (CPUs) remain the mainstay of HP's notebook lineups for the show. The company cut the price for its Presario V1000 equipped with a Pentium M 1.5GHz CPU and 15-inch liquid-crystal-display screen to NT$39,900, a NT$4,000 discount, in a bid to lure customers.

HP is also offering models powered by the latest Centrino CPUs, including HP Compaq nc 6000 with Dothan 715 (1.5 GHz) processors and a 14-inch screen, which sells for NT$49,900.

"We hope to return to the No. 3 [spot] or even challenge number two in the third quarter, by boosting our market share to 15 percent or 16 percent from 11 percent in the previous quarter," Chen said.

The nation's No. 1 laptop vendor, Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦) is optimistic about the show.

"We are bullish about the purchasing atmosphere created by the show," Asustek's sales director Kevin Lin (林福能) said, noting that the market has been dull, with consumers waiting for preferential treatments offered by vendors during the exhibition.

Asustek hopes its notebook sales will increase between 20 percent and 30 percent year-on-year during the show. Last year the company sold around 4,800 units, Lin said.

The company expects to sell 200,000 laptops domestically this year, a jump of 45 percent from last year. It said it made 40 percent of that target in the first half of this year.

The new Dothan CPU notebooks make up over half of Asus-tek's lineups in the exhibition, Lin said. He expects the new platform to become the mainstream in the third quarter, as the price gap between the new version and the old one is shrinking.

Asustek's A3N, equipped with a Dothan 715 CPU and 15-inch screen, is priced at NT$44,800, a more competitive price than those offered by HP and Acer Inc.

The exhibition will be open from 9:40am to 5pm and admission is NT$200 per person. There is free admission between 10am and 12pm today only.

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