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China Briefings

Reports on China issued by Samsung Economic Research Institute

Changes in China's Laptop Computer Market

Changes in China's Laptop Computer Market

Feb. 15, 2007

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Laptop computer sale growth in China exceeded 30% a year between 1993 and 2005. For the first ten months in 2006, 3.29 million laptop computers were sold, up 40.6% from the previous year. Although far more desktop computers were sold in China during the same time periods (15.17 million), the 12.8% sales growth rate was far behind the laptops. With manufacturers slashing prices and offering low-price models, laptops should continue to draw considerable consumer interest going forward.

Laptop computers for personal use have underscored the sales growth. They accounted for 9.2% of total computer sales in 2001 but tripled in just three years, reaching 27.5% in 2004.

As a share of total computer sales in China, laptops increased from 7.2% in 2001 to 17.9% in 2006. Still, that trailed far behind the global computer market, where laptops accounted for 25% of total sales. In the US and European countries, 30% of total computer sales were laptops, and in Japan, it was 55%.

Until the late 1990s, global companies such as IBM, Toshiba, and Dell had a lion's share in China's laptop computer market. Toshiba, which opened up the Chinese market in 1995, had the biggest market share from 1998 to 1999.

However, Chinese companies armed with low prices and extensive sales networks rose to the forefront in the 1990s, led by Lenovo, the first Chinese firm that entered the nation's laptop computer market. It vaulted past multinationals to become the largest in terms of market share in China by late 1999. Other Chinese companies included Founder, Tsinghua Unisplendour, and Tsinghua Tongfang. Meanwhile, Taiwanese computer makers such as Acer, ASUS and BenQ, who entered China in the early 1990s, have increased their market share the past two years. Korea's Samsung and Japan's Fujitsu and Sony have also entered the market while targeting higher-end consumers since 2001. In the third quarter of 2006, Combined market share of Lenovo, Dell, ASUS, and Acer reached 70%.

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