Sat, Aug 27, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Asustek upbeat as shipments rise

COMPETITION:Asustek’s gross margins rose to 14.7 percent in the second quarter, but it said these could come ‘under pressure’ as Acer promotes its PC in Europe

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), the world’s No. 5 PC brand, yesterday said it expected revenues to regain their growth momentum in the third quarter, helped by a 16 percent growth in notebook computer shipments.

The company is aiming to ship 3.6 million notebooks this quarter, up about 16 percent from 3.1 million units last quarter, while it aims to double shipments of its tablet PCs to 800,000 units from 400,000 units, according to a company statement.

Shipments of netbook computers, which accounted for 13 percent of Asustek’s overall revenues in the second quarter this year, will grow slightly to 1.1 million units this quarter from 1 million the previous quarter.

The company did not disclose quarter-on-quarter revenue growth estimates. Last quarter, Asustek’s revenues fell 5 percent year-on-year, or a 3 percent quarter-on-quarter drop, to NT$71.67 billion (US$2.47 billion).

On Thursday, Asustek reported a second-quarter net income of NT$3.6 billion, an 8 percent boost compared with net income of NT$3.32 billion in the same period last year. On a quarterly basis, that meant a 5 percent increase from NT$3.42 billion.

Gross margins rose to 14.7 -percent from last year’s 11.9 percent, but were down from 15.5 percent in the first quarter of this year.

However, third-quarter gross margins might be “under pressure” because of Acer Inc’s (宏碁) aggressive promotion of its PCs in Europe to clear excess inventory, Asustek said.

The company, which is set to start selling its UX series ultrabook next month, is targeting a price range of US$799 to US$1,999, Asustek CEO Jerry Shen (沈振來) has said.

Acer said on Wednesday its ultrabooks would sell for between US$799 and US$1,199.

Intel has said it expected ultrabooks to initially sell for more than US$1,000, before dropping below that price point in the future.

Asustek will start selling higher-priced ultrabooks before it launches lower-priced models next year, Shen said.

Responding to analysts’ questions, he said Intel’s goal of seeing ultrabooks account for 40 percent of the consumer notebook market next year was “over-optimistic.”

He said since the product is still in the early stages of development and since there are issues to resolve such as heat dissipation and extending the battery life, the 40 percent target would only be achievable in 2013, after Intel launches its Haswell platform.

Shen also said it would focus on the Padfone — a smartphone-tablet combo — as its core smartphone development model.

“Compared with HTC (宏達電) or Samsung, which are good at developing smartphones, our idea of incorporating the phone into the tablet will ‘wow’ consumers,” he said.

Alex Sun (孫聰敏), corporate vice president of Asustek’s personal mobile devices business unit, last month said the company was finding a niche in the smartphone industry after its two-year smartphone partnership with US portable navigation device maker Garmin Ltd fell through in January.

“It is the smartphone, not the tablet, that will be the highlight of the Padfone,” Sun said, adding that the tablet will only work when the smartphone is inserted into the dock.

He said prices for the Padfone would be close to that of Apple Inc’s iPhone. The Padfone will be launched in the first quarter of next year.

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