Notebooks to account for 33 percent of PC shipments this year

Posted on Sunday, May 14 2006 @ 12:07 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Research and Markets has announced ther of the Global Sources report: China Sourcing Report: Notebook PCs & Accessories.

Demand for notebook PCs continues to grow at a faster rate than that for desktop PCs. Notebooks are projected to account for 25 percent of global PC shipments in 2004, with the proportion expected to reach 33 percent in 2006.

Of the 42 million to 47 million notebook PCs that will be shipped worldwide in 2004, at least 50 percent will be produced in mainland China, mostly by Taiwan-invested manufacturers.

There are over 30 suppliers of notebook PCs in mainland China and Taiwan. Supply is dominated by Taiwan suppliers who concentrate on contract manufacturing for the worlds top brands such as Dell, HP and Toshiba. Others leverage on the consumer awareness of their brands, but have no in-house production capability.

Relocation of production to mainland China has enabled Taiwan makers to slash FOB prices due to lower labor costs and savings on components, such as batteries and AC adapters.

Most companies are clustered in Suzhou and Wujiang, Jiangsu province; Shenzhen and Zhongshan, Guangdong province; and in Shanghai. Some production lines retained in Taiwan handle high-end models or pilot runs of new releases. R&D centers and marketing offices are also on the island.

Moving to mainland China has also given Taiwan makers a foothold on the fast-growing domestic China market for notebook PCs.

On the other hand, mainland China-based suppliers, who mostly have manufacturing backgrounds in desktop PCs and consumer electronics, sell in the domestic market only. The majority of them have Taiwan partners who manufacture notebook PCs for them. Many mainland suppliers find the US$2 million investment required for starting a notebook PC assembly line too steep.

A growing number of suppliers, however, are obtaining the technological know-how for producing notebook PCs. Some makers have already established R&D centers to develop the requisite expertise. Makers that have in-house production capability are currently domestic-oriented. These companies are looking to break into overseas markets in 2004 and 2005.

More than half of available models feature Intel mobile CPUs. Centrino is the most widely adopted notebook PC solution by makers. It is preferred because of the integrated 802.11b WLAN support and low power consumption. Dothan-core Pentium M models power high-end models.

Aside from WLAN, other features expected to become more common in 2004 and mainstream by 2005 are 16:9 wide screens, and built-in PC cameras and card readers. More features will also be introduced to promote notebook PCs as multimedia entertainment appliances.

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