Thu, Feb 24, 2005 - Page 11 News List

IBM and BenQ see dim prospects for notebook sector

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The outlook for the nation's portable computer market appears dull in the first half of the year, an executive at IBM's Taiwan branch said yesterday.

"Without new, appealing technology to spur consumer demand, the market appears to be flat in the first quarter and even in the first half," Laurence Hwang (黃維德), IBM Taiwan's personal systems group executive, said at a press conference yesterday.

Signs of weakening demand started to emerge during the IT Month exhibition in December, which saw slower-than-expected sales, Hwang said.

The company is cautious about the market's prospects, which may not be clear until after March, he added.

The executive predicted that the total market size would see modest growth to around 600,000 units this year.

IBM, the nation's fourth largest laptop vendor, is not the only firm to sense stagnancy.

Smaller rival BenQ Corp (明基電通) is also conservative about the market, citing lackluster market demand.

BenQ yesterday estimated that laptop demand in Taiwan may grow marginally to around 600,000 units this year from between 540,000 units and 550,000 units last year, according to BenQ's senior marketing manager Joseph Liu (劉志錕).

Meanwhile, Hwang confirmed yesterday that he is going to take the helm of the Taiwan branch of the new joint venture between IBM's PC business unit and Lenovo Group (聯想) of China.

The venture is slated to be set up in the second quarter if the US government approves the merger deal by the end of current quarter, as scheduled.

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