PC sales in the Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) region reached 5.4 million units for the first quarter of 2003, 5.2 per cent higher than in the same quarter last year, according to figures released Friday by Gartner Inc.

But growth would have been stronger had it not been for a 22.2 per cent fall in PC shipments in South Korea, the region’s second-biggest PC market. That fall was caused by a set of unusual political circumstances, including the standoff with North Korea, the war in Iraq and a major financial scandal in South Korea, Gartner said.

But all other countries bar Singapore improved sales in the first quarter, with the majority posting double-digit sales growth, according to Gartner.

The largest PC market in the region, China, was a relative laggard, increasing sales by 8.5 per cent to 2.17 million units. China now accounts for 40 per cent of PC sold in the region.

India, Australia and Taiwan, the three largest markets after South Korea, each posted sales growth of just over 16 per cent, and Thailand, the sixth-biggest market posted sales growth of 19.6 per cent to overtake Malaysia to become the region’s sixth-biggest PC market.

The advanced IT markets of Hong Kong and Singapore performed relatively poorly, with Hong Kong’s PC sales growing by five per cent and Singapore’s falling by one per cent.

According to Gartner, the growth was concentrated in the mobile and notebook PC sector, which now accounts for 18 per cent of all PC sales up from 15 per cent in the first quarter last year. Demand was driven by aggressive pricing and more options in processors and screen sizes.

Although China’s Legend Group Ltd. and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) remain the market leaders with shares of 11.6 per cent and 11 per cent, IBM Corp. and Dell Computer Corp. saw the biggest sales growth. Dell sales rose 35.9 per cent to top 350,000 units for the first time, while IBM’s PC sales rose 28.5 per cent.

Table 1: Asia-Pacific PC sales, first quarter 2003 (thousands of units)

Country

Q1 2003 sales

Q1 2003 market share

Growth Q1 2003/ Q1 2002

China

2,173

40.2%

+8.5%

South Korea

716

13.3%

-22.2%

India

615

11.4%

+16.2%

Australia

578

10.7%

+16.2%

Taiwan

293

5.4%

+16.3%

Thailand

203

3.8%

+19.6%

Malaysia

193

3.6%

+11.3%

Hong Kong

135

2.5%

+5.0%

Indonesia

129

2.4%

+12.5%

Singapore

121

2.2%

-1.0%

Other

244

4.5%

+9.4%

TOTAL

5,402

100.0%

+5.2%

Source: Gartner Inc., May 2003



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