The number of personal computers in use worldwide will more than double by 2010, powered by China, India and Indonesia, technology analysts Forrester Research said on Tuesday.
PCs in use will soar to nearly 1.3 billion at the end of the decade from 575 million now, it predicted in a report, titled "Sizing The Emerging-Nation PC Market."
Mature markets in the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific would add 150 million new PCs to the world market by 2010, it said.
By contrast, 566 million new PCs would be used in emerging markets, up from 75 million last year, a 31-percent compound annual growth rate.
The battle in emerging markets would pit industry leaders Dell Inc and Hewlett-Packard Co against local manufacturers, and "fundamentally change the rules of the game," Forrester said.
Price would be the key to faster adoption of computers, it said.
"Today's products from Western PC vendors won't dominate in those markets in the long term," Forrester senior analyst Simon Yates said.
"Instead, local PC makers like Lenovo Group Ltd (
China's Lenovo stunned the world last week when it announced the purchase of IBM Corp's global PC operations at a price of US$1.75 billion in cash, stock and debt.
According to Forrester, Western PC manufacturers would win the first round in emerging markets, but local manufacturers would dominate in the long term.
The first phase of computer users in emerging countries, wealthy city dwellers, would buy from Western firms like Dell, HP and IBM.
In the second wave, middle-class literate people were expected to be targeted by local manufacturers offering cheaper machines.
The rural mass market was a "long-term challenge," Forrester said.
"They are likely to choose PC alternatives, such as smartphones," it predicted.
Forrester said computer manufacturers must develop a new generation of PC products that are affordable, simple, localized, useful, durable and serviceable.