Thu, Aug 05, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Analysts reduce Q3 predictions for IT industry

COMPUTER PURCHASES The Market Intelligence Center said slower-than-expected demand for desktop replacements forced the revised forecast

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nation's contract computer makers are expected to show only moderate growth in the third quarter as the much anticipated back-to-school buying spree may not live up to expectations, a Taipei-based market researcher said yesterday.

"Yes, the seasonal purchase season will arrive, but the strength will not be as strong as we expected earlier this year," said Helen Chiang (江芳韻), a senior analyst with the Market Intelligence Center (MIC, 資訊市場情報中心).

In the three-month period to September, contract notebook computer makers led by Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦) are expected to increase their shipments by 33 percent into around 8.44 million units from a year earlier, the research house said.

That pace of growth would be slower than the 38 percent annual growth rate in the third quarter of last year, Chiang said.

She blamed excessive optimism and slower-than-expected demand for desktop computer replacement as the main reasons for the revised forecast.

"Though the growth is relatively robust compared with the past years, it is still disappointing," she said.

The center trimmed its forecast for laptop computer shipments this year from 47.5 million units to 46.7 million, which means the annual growth rate will fall by 3 percent to 23 percent from the last estimate.

However, Quanta and smaller rival Compal Electronics Inc (仁寶) have not changed their shipment targets for this year. Quanta aims to ship 11 million units and Compal hopes to ship 8 million.

Chiang made the remarks during a press conference yesterday to announce the center's outlook for the nation's information technology (IT) industry. In the second quarter, the IT sector produced US$14.6 billion worth of electronics, up 30.6 percent from a year earlier, largely driven by computer liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors, digital cameras and notebook computers, the center said.

Looking ahead, MIC said local companies' production value and shipments will grow, fueled by back-to-school demand.

Notebook computer shipments bounced back to 7.41 million units during the quarter that ended June, up 32.4 percent from a year ago, on rising orders from computer giants Dell Inc and Toshiba Corp, Chiang said.

Output in terms of annual sales also rose by 30.5 percent to US$4.87 billion, according to the center's figures. While shipments of thin and light laptops increased 26.1 percent in the second quarter from the first, multi-media function-equipped models designed to replace desktops slipped 9.1 percent, the center said.

The back-to-school season will also give a boost to local contract desktop computer makers, it said.

Local laptop computer makers are expected to show a 12.1 percent rise in shipments to 8.63 million units in the quarter to next month, versus 7.7 million units a year ago.

The seasonal demand will also help local firms work their way through stockpiles of LCD monitors built up in the slack second quarter, said Lina Li (勵秀玲), a MIC industry analyst.

Local companies shipped 10.5 million LCD monitors during the second quarter, Li said.

The output value increased to US$3.5 billion.

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