IDC: Worst may be over for Asian PC market

The PC market in the Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) region showed encouraging growth from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2001 when the number of PCs shipped in the region increased 5.6 percent, indicating that the worst may be over for the region's markets, according to International Data Corp. (IDC) Asia-Pacific figures released on Thursday.

This is the second quarter PC shipments have grown, with figures declining significantly in the first half of 2001, said Manny Lopez, Hong Kong-based market analyst for personal systems research at IDC Asia-Pacific. However, it may be premature to expect full PC market recovery in the region, he said.

PC shipments grew 1.9 percent year on year, showing a modest increase to 5.65 million units shipped last quarter from 5.54 million units in the fourth quarter of 2000, IDC said.

Even though the region saw overall growth, only two markets had year-on-year increases in PC sales. Asia's largest PC market, China, lead the growth with 12.1 percent from 2.45 million units shipped, up from 2.18 million units in 2000, while Thailand grew 7.6 percent in 2001 to 147,900 units, said IDC.

China now accounts for 43.3 percent of PC sales in the region, up from 39.4 percent a year ago.

"Year-on-year growth is indicative of growth because it takes into account the holiday season in Q4, which is usually when PC sales increase, whereas quarter-on-quarter growth gives an indication of how the economies are faring," said Lopez.

Other markets that did well in the fourth quarter include Australia and Taiwan, both growing 9.6 percent, with Korea showing high seasonal growth with 22.8 percent increase in PC sales, quarter-on-quarter, said Lopez.

China saw PC shipments increase by 6 percent in the fourth quarter from the third quarter, while Singapore and New Zealand grew marginally at 2.8 percent and 1.6 percent respectively, IDC figures showed. All other markets in the region continued to show a decline in PC sales.

According to IDC, Dell Computer Corp. had the highest growth among PC vendors, with a 20.6 percent increase in PC sales in fourth quarter in 2001 from the year before. Legend Group Holdings Co., China's largest PC maker, grew 8.5 percent in 2001 compared to the same quarter the previous year, followed closely by Compaq Computer Ltd., which grew 8.4 percent, IDC said, adding that actual units shipped for Legend in the last quarter was 730,100 units, compared to Compaq's 364,500 units in the region.

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