Asian PC Market Returns to Pre-Crisis Levels in Fourth Quarter, Says IDC

Framingham, MA, February 11, 1999 – Fourth quarter PC shipments in Asia/Pacific increased 7 percent from the same period a year-earlier and over 11 percent from Q3 1998, according to preliminary data released today by International Data Corporation (IDC). The results signal a rebound in many regional markets as shipments increased annually for the first time in 1998. Total regional PC shipments amounted to 2.89 million units in Q4 1998, which is the highest total ever for the regional PC market. Despite the positive indications at the end of 1998, PC shipment growth for the entire year was still negative. According to preliminary findings, 10.47 million PCs were shipped in 1998 compared to 10.54 million units in 1997, a decrease of 0.6 percent. Nevertheless, the worst is likely behind the regional PC market after a year of economic, social and political turmoil. In 1999, IDC forecasts the regional market to recover from it’s poor performance in 1998 as annual shipment growth is expected to exceed 14 percent.

"With the fourth quarter results, there is reason for guarded optimism looking toward 1999," said Kitty Fok, Research Manager at IDC Asia/Pacific. "If market conditions in China, India and Australia remain healthy, the regional PC market should generate solid gains in 1999 producing the highest annual shipment total to date for the regional market."

Competitively, Compaq will finish the year atop the regional PC market with 8.5 percent market share. Compaq was trailed by IBM with an 8.1 percent market share while Legend and Hewlett-Packard tied for third place, both with 5.4 percent market share. Acer managed to edge out Samsung for the fifth place position with 4.7 percent share. The greatest gains among competitors in 1998 were made by Legend and Dell with annual unit shipment increases of 73.4 percent and 45.9 percent, respectively. Legend’s growth was fueled by its dominance in the Chinese PC market which accounted for 37.5 percent of the regional market in 1998. Dell’s gains were distributed throughout the region as the direct model gained acceptance in many Asian markets. Results from the fourth quarter will help set the competitive environment for the PC market in 1999.

In Q4 1998, IBM replaced Compaq as the leading regional vendor while Legend planted itself firmly as the region’s third largest vendor, pushing Hewlett-Packard to the fourth place position. Legend and Dell continued to lead the market in growth terms, but Apple also produced solid growth for the second straight quarter due largely to the success of it?s iMac product line.

Market Highlights

The year ended in the same way as it began, with China, Australia and India acting as a counter-balance against steep market losses in Southeast Asia and Korea. The sharpest market losses in 1998 were experienced in Indonesia, Thailand and Korea as shipments in each market declined 81.1 percent, 40.5 percent and 34.3 percent, respectively. Other markets with negative annual shipment growth rates were Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong with decreases ranging from over 34 percent to 0.1%. Of these markets, the only two to post positive annual shipment growth in the fourth quarter were Thailand and the Philippines.. In contrast, conditions in China, India, Australia, Taiwan and New Zealand remained positive throughout the 1998. China and India led the region in growth with gains of 29.5 percent and 31.5 percent, respectively. Growth in China slowed from the previous year figure of 44 percent, but market gains continued to be supported by the home market, low PC penetration and economic expansion. Conversely, growth in India accelerated in 1998 due to very strong home and small office market growth coupled with Intel’s support of small assemblers and local brands which enabled average prices to decline. Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan generated healthy PC market growth due largely to economies that remained mostly stable throughout the year.

These findings stem from IDC’s Asia/Pacific AsiaDAT Quarterly PC Tracker. To purchase this service, please contact Ronnie Gilligan-White at 508-935-4174 or by e-mail at rgilligan-white@idc.com. For more information on IDC Asia/Pacific’s research offerings, please contact Lisa Bloom or Beth Freedman at 508-872-8200.

About IDC

International Data Corporation is the information technology industry's most comprehensive resource on worldwide IT markets, trends, products, vendors, and geographies. IDC provides data, analysis and advisory services to the world's leading IT suppliers as well as IS professionals in finance, insurance, entertainment, advertising, consumer goods and publishing. IDC's research and opinions are based on the results of more than 300,000 end-user surveys, in-depth competitive analysis, broad technology coverage, and strategic analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through its 500 analysts in more than 40 countries worldwide. Additional information on IDC can be found on its Web site at http://www.idc.com.

IDC is a division of International Data Group, the world's leading IT media, research, and exposition company.

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