Thu, Jan 20, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Acer expects surging notebook business

FAST GROWTH The Taiwanese company, the world's fourth-largest notebook PC vendor, predicts large growth momentum for its product from the US and China

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Acer Inc, the world's fourth-largest personal computer (PC) vendor, expects notebook computer shipments to surge over 75 percent this year with the fastest growth in the Chinese market, a company executive said yesterday.

The expansion of this Taiwanese brand looks stunning, compared to a 10 percent growth to 194 million units in PC shipments around the world this year, as market researcher IDC Corp projected last month.

"For Acer, the growth momentum will come from the US and China, especially the latter," said Scott Lin (林顯郎), president of Acer's greater China operations.

Overall, Acer aims to boost laptop-computer shipments to as many as 6 million units this year from 3.41 million units last year, Lin said. That will help Acer get into a better position this year to challenge IBM Corp's third place globally, he added.

According to IDC, IBM had a 5.7 percent market share worldwide last year, compared to Acer's 4.3 percent.

Lin made the remarks yesterday while attending a ceremony by Intel Corp to launch an upgrade of its Centrino technology. The new technology, also known as Sonoma, will be used in up to 150 new notebook designs globally and is expected to provide faster wireless Internet connections than its predecessor, according to Intel.

In terms of geographic regions, growth in China will be the strongest due to the bigger customer base and the six-month-long effort to adjust its distribution channels there, Lin said.

"We are gradually shifting our sales channels to big Chinese distributors with intensive networks nationwide, from small retailers. We've seen some results now," Lin said.

Acer expects a spike in laptop-computer shipments, the world's fastest-growing market, to exceed 200,000 units this year, from 96,000 units last year, Lin said.

The strong growth will make Acer the No.5 notebook-computer brand in China's 2.5-million-unit laptop market, he said.

"We believe Acer has a good chance to achieve that target," Lin told reporters.

Sales contribution from the Chinese market will also increase to NT$28 billion, or 17 percent of Acer's sales estimate of NT$165 billion for this year, he said. Last year the Chinese market contributed around 13 percent.

But, Europe will remain to make up a hefty 60 percent of Acer's overall sales, he said.

Pre-tax profits for this year will be NT$7.85 billion, or NT$3.3 a share, Acer projected last month.

Commenting on the first quar-ter, Lin said "We thought the first quarter would have been a slow season, as usual, but now it looks better than that."

Nevertheless, constant supply constraints in Intel's Celeron processors for low-end portable and desktop computers is looming, which will adversely affect Acer's shipments in the three-month period to March.

"As the shortage is limited to low-end models, we believe the impact will be small. Besides, Intel promised to fully supply Acer with the processors by March," Lin said.

Now, Intel can only supply half of the Celeron processors for laptop computers that Acer needs and 70 percent for its desktop computers, according to Lin.

He said that lower-priced computers only accounted for 30 percent of Acer's total products.

Also see story:

Personal computer shipments grow 13.7% worldwide

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