Fri, Dec 03, 2004 - Page 11 News List

IT Month promises feast of bargains

PRICE WARS Shoppers can can get ready for some good deals, with sizeable discounts expected on LCD monitors, music players and computers

By Lisa Wang, Jessie Ho and Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTERS

With discounts in excess of NT$5,000 on 19-inch LCD monitors, there will be great bargains to be had for consumers during IT month, the annual computer show, which is due to start on Saturday.


With retailers in the US and Europe gearing up for the Christmas shopping season, in Taiwan computer electronics makers are bracing themselves for IT Month, one of the busiest times of the year.

Acer Inc has dropped the prices of its 19-inch liquid-crystal display (LCD) monitors, heralding stiff price competition during the annual computer and electronics fair, which provides an excellent venue for consumers hunting bargains, especially in laptop computers and LCD monitors.

The electronics fair is being held in the Taipei World Trade Center's Exhibition Halls I and III and officially starts on Saturday.

"The main target in the price wars will be 19-inch LCD monitors, as prices for 17-inch models have already fallen to below NT$9,000 per unit this summer," Danny Yao (姚鴻洲), a president of BenQ Corp (明基電通), said yesterday.

Yao expects price cuts for 19-inch models in excess of NT$5,000 during IT Month, while 17-inch models should be around NT$2,000 cheaper.

BenQ is in a neck-and-neck race with Chi Mei Corp (奇美實業) and ViewSonic International Corp (優派) for the top position in Taiwan's LCD monitor business.

Latecomers such as Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦), which has been keeping quiet about its price strategy, could intensify the competition this year.

Last year, HannStar Entertainment Corp (瀚宇網俠), a retailer selling new LCD monitors under the CMV brand made by Chi Mei Corp, took the blame for severe price competition.

"This year, we won't be the one pulling the trigger," HannStar En-tertainment manager Vivi Chou (周先雲) said.

"But our price strategy can be much more flexible than that of our rivals. We could join the battle if competitors spark price wars," she said.

Chou expects NT$8,999 to be the bottom line for a 19-inch LCD model.

Although computers and related products usually take the limelight at the annual IT Month expo, digital camera vendors also want to exploit the chance to showcase their latest products.

Him Technology Inc (華研國際), previously know as Taiwansoft Technology Inc (台灣超軟), will debut its latest 4-megapixel digital camera, called SEXI, under the DigiMaster brand at the fair.

Him Technology does not plan to offer any discount for the slim digital camera, which is targeted at female consumers. The model is priced at NT$11,700.

Portable digital music players are no doubt one of the hottest products of the year, representing a fashion statement rather than just an advanced version of a CD walkman.

With storage ranging from 4GB to 40GB, Apple Computer Inc's iPod family is many consumers' first choice in hard-drive-based MP3 players. But Apple won't cut its prices by even NT$1 during IT Month, although students, as well as teaching and administrative staff, can buy the products with six interest-free installments.

Apple's booth will also take orders for the "iPod photo" and "iPod U2 Special Edition," which were introduced to the Taiwanese market this week. In addition to music files, iPod photo is capable of storing 25,000 photos. The iPod U2 is the result of a partnership between Apple, the rock band U2 and Universal Music Group, bearing band mem-bers' autographs and containing songs from U2's latest album.

Another market favorite is BenQ Corp's (明基電通) Joybee series, the market-leading flash-based MP3 player in Taiwan. During IT Month, BenQ will offer discounts of NT$300 to NT$400 on the Joybee series and throw in a free case, charger and USB plug.

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