Thu, Oct 27, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Notebook sales set to soar

HOT CAKES The Christmas period combined with aggressive pricing and other players dropping out of the market is set to give Taiwanese companies a boost

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Shipments of notebook computers from the nation are expected to further expand in the fourth quarter from the previous three months, bolstered mainly by the upcoming Christmas period and a slew of lower-priced models, industry analysts said yesterday at a press briefing.

Fourth-quarter shipments for portable computers will reach 15 million to 18 million units, with an output value of US$9.08 billion, according to the latest report from the Market Intelligence Center (MIC, 市場情報中心).

It represents an increase of 13.7 percent in shipments over the third quarter and a rise of 42.2 percent from the same period of last year, MIC added.

"The Christmas buying season and aggressiveness from vendors promoting lower-end models will remain the two strongest drivers in the fourth quarter," said Cynthia Chyn (秦素霞), the center's deputy general director.

Taiwan, already the world's largest notebook computer manufacturer, will see its market share grow even larger this year, up to 82.41 percent from last year's 72.30 percent, Chyn said.

The gradual replacement of desktops by notebooks, coupled with big names such as Dell Inc and Hewlett-Packard Co pushing cheaper models, are set to benefit Taiwanese vendors, as these companies outsource their production to companies here, she said.

"Currently, there are only a small percentage of Japanese vendors producing notebooks in-house, and South Korean players are slowly withdrawing from the original design manufacturing space, leaving the main chunk of work to Taiwanese vendors," Chyn said.

According to estimates from the Taipei-based market researcher, worldwide notebook shipments will rise by 28.9 percent this year from last year, totaling 59.5 million units. Next year's growth will slow slightly to 19.8 percent.

The replacement trend and low-priced models will continue to be the main factors behind growth next year, but the impact will be minimized since these trends have been taking center stage this year, notebook analyst Albert Chen (陳立恆) said.

However, the shortage of Intel chipsets and an outbreak of avian flu could impact people's willingness to spend, and might prove to be unforeseen hindrances to healthy growth, he said.

Acer Inc, Taiwan's third largest notebook maker by market value, is seen as the rising star among Asian brandname notebook makers, as its shipments are projected to rise by a strong 40 percent next year, he said.

The company's aggressiveness in the low-priced notebook lineup, its understanding of European markets and successful channel deployment will ensure success on the world stage next year, Chen said.

Meanwhile, desktop shipments from Taiwanese companies will hit 10.38 million units in the fourth quarter, expanding by 9.9 percent compared with the same period of last year, MIC's statistics showed.

The growth is attributed to strong demand in emerging markets including central and southern America, and higher spending in the enterprise segment, Chen added.

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