Thu, Oct 13, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Asustek predicts prosperous Q4

EPICENTER ASIA:The firm’s optimistic outlook is based on solid growth in markets in the Asia-Pacific region, in countries such as Thailand, China, Japan and Indonesia

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff Reporter

A model holds an Asustek ultrabook dubbed the “Zenbook” at its launch in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦), the world’s fifth-largest notebook computer maker, said its fourth quarter revenue would be better than expected, supported by strong demand in Asian markets and sales of new products, including its ultrabook series.

To compete with Apple Inc’s ultra-thin MacBook Air, Asustek yesterday launched four ultrabooks in Taipei with retail prices starting at NT$36,900 (US$1,216), higher than the US$1,000 Intel Corp anticipated and pricier than an entry-level MacBook Air, which sells for NT$31,900.

Asustek’s ultrabooks, branded as “Zenbooks,” offer panel sizes of either 11.6 inches or 13.3 inches. The Taipei launch followed the unveiling of five ultrabooks in New York on Tuesday, according to the company.

Asustek aims to sell 300,000 ultrabooks by the end of this year, financial executive David Chang (張偉明) told reporters.

Ultrabooks are expected to make up about 8 percent of Asustek’s total notebook shipments this quarter, Chang said, implying that Asustek would ship 3.75 million notebooks in total, up about 4 percent from an estimated 3.6 million units in the third quarter.

“We expect the fourth quarter won’t be as slow as it usually is,” Chang said. “Revenue usually dips in the fourth quarter [from the third quarter], but this time the decline could be less steep.”

In the quarter ending Sept. 30, Asustek’s unconsolidated revenue grew 24.7 percent from the previous quarter, or 25.06 percent year-on-year, to NT$96.36 billion, its highest level since the third quarter of last year when the company spun off its contract manufacturing businesses.

Chang’s optimistic fourth-quarter outlook is built on solid growth in Asia-Pacific markets, such as China, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan. Excluding China, the Asia-Pacific region made up about 20 percent of Asustek’s overall revenue, he told reporters.

Besides, demand “from Western European countries is not as bad as [some analysts] thought based on what our salespeople are telling us, but we will still be cautious about inventory management in the region,” Chang said.

New product launches would also help, Chang said.

Asustek is scheduled to launch a new generation of its popular tablet computers, dubbed the “Eee Pad Transformer,” next month, he said.

This quarter, Asustek expected shipments of tablet computers to fall to 600,000 units, or to remain unchanged from the third quarter at 800,000 tablets, as demand could stall ahead of the launch of the new products, Chang said.

The forecast has factored in potential erosion from Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablet, he said.

In August, Asustek said it would ship 800,000 tablets in the third quarter. The company has not yet disclosed an exact figure.

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