LG puts notebook debut on hold until first quarter

IMPORTANT MARKET: The electronics giant is being careful about introducing its latest portables in Taiwan because it wants them to have the right chips and prices


Sat, Sep 09, 2006 - Page 11

LG Electronics Inc's plans to debut its first batch of laptop computers have been postponed until early next year because the company is still fine-tuning the product details, it said.

"We are still concerned about bringing our notebook computers into Taiwan. But it is an important market given its manufacturing base," Gatti Park, an assistant general manager at LG Taiwan, said earlier this week in Taipei.

The company had intended to debut its notebooks here in the first quarter this year, but later decided to postpone their introduction. The date has been tentatively scheduled for the first quarter next year, he said.

As chip giant Intel Corp has quickly introduced numerous microprocessors this year, LG Taiwan is still waiting for the right platform for its notebooks, he said.

The company is also cautious about its pricing strategy because the Taiwanese market is sensitive to price tags, he said.

As one of the top selling notebook brands in South Korea along with Samsung Electronics Co, LG's prices are higher than the mainstream price range of NT$30,000 (US$915) to NT$40,000 because it does not outsource production to lower costs, he said.

But LG Taiwan intends to make sure its prices do not differ widely from those of other first-tier notebooks on local shelves, Park said.

The company's notebooks made their first appearance in December last year at the IT Month expo, which is the largest consumer electronics fair in Taipei held in the second half of the year.

The introduction of LG's notebook computers will complement the Korean company's IT product range, which also includes MP3 players, DVD recorders, Blu-ray optical drives and LCD monitors.

LG is attempting to break into the local market dominated by homegrown brands Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦) and Acer Inc, which command a combined market share of about 70 percent.

Taiwan's total computer market -- including desktops and notebooks -- posted only marginal growth to 562,326 units in the second quarter, up 0.6 percent from the same period last year and 0.4 percent from the first quarter, according to the latest figures from International Data Corp Taiwan (IDC).

Weak consumer spending and political unrest have dragged down the sales momentum, it said.

There were 160,510 notebooks sold in the second quarter, an annual rise of 14 percent and a sequential increase of 2 percent, the data showed.

In descending order, the top sellers were Asustek Computer, Acer, Hewlett-Packard Co and Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想).

Though Intel's Napa dual-core processors accounted for 42 percent of all notebooks sold in the second quarter, consumers are still not sufficiently familiar with the company's fast-changing platforms, IDC said.