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Firms seek new profits in niche gaming PC market

POPULAR:Global interest in e-sports and demand for the new Volta graphics processing units are expected to boost shipments of gaming PCs up to 20 percent, analysts said

By Chen Cheng-hui  /  Staff reporter

Despite a continued slowdown in the global PC market, several Taiwanese companies have intensified efforts to seek new business opportunities in the gaming PC market as more people purchase e-sports games.

Gaming and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, 5G wireless communication, the Internet of Things, blockchain technology and innovative start-ups are being highlighted at this week’s Computex trade fair in Taipei, which opened on Tuesday and runs through Saturday.

Amid the rapid development of the e-sports industry, global shipments of gaming PCs are forecast to increase by between 10 and 20 percent from 2016 to next year, KGI Securities Investment Advisory Co (凱基投顧) said in a report released on March 30.

In particular, shipments this year are to be driven by replacement demand in light of Nvidia Corp’s planned launch of its new family of Volta graphics processing units (GPUs) in the second half this year, KGI said.

According to KGI estimates, gaming PC shipments last year grew 10 percent annually to between 21 million and 22 million units (including 6 million to 7 million notebooks and 15 million to 16 million desktops), accounting for 9 to 10 percent of the overall PC market.

With the growing popularity of e-sports games worldwide and the anticipated demand for the Volta GPUs — a major upgrade from the previous Pascal family, with a 30 to 50 percent improvement in performance — shipments of gaming PCs this year could increase by 10 to 20 percent to between 23 million and 24 million units, KGI analysts Angela Hsiang (向子慧) and Jim Liou (劉峻廷) said in the report.

Micro-Star International Co (微星) and Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) are the leading gaming PC vendors, with annual shipments of between 1 million and 1.4 million units each, followed by Dell Inc and Acer Inc (宏碁) with shipments of between 500,000 and 1 million units each, Hsiang and Liou said.

The analysts said they were upbeat about the prospects of Micro-Star’s and Asustek’s gaming PC businesses because the two vendors are also the leading brands in the graphics card and motherboard markets and therefore can provide complete product lineups to satisfy the demands of consumers.

“Gaming PC-related businesses will become the major drivers of Micro-Star’s and Asustek’s sales and earnings growth this year,” the analysts said.

Suppliers of gaming PC peripheral products — mice, keyboards, cooling kits and power supplies — are also expected to benefit from the booming gaming industry, KGI said.

These suppliers include Chicony Electronics Co (群光), Sun Max Tech Ltd (動力), Chaun-Choung Technology Corp (超眾) and Thermaltake Technology Co (曜越), KGI said.

Although suppliers have faced rising prices for memory chips, multilayer ceramic capacitors, metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect-transistors and graphics cards, they might see a significant boost in earnings this year as gaming PC peripheral products generally enjoy higher average selling prices and gross margins compared with conventional items, it said.

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