Due to the declining PC market, most motherboard makers are having a hard time. The two top players in the market, ASUS and Gigabyte, are managing to maintain their unit shipment volume but this comes at the expensive of second-tier and third-tier players. DigiTimes writes the harsh competition is forcing many of them to aggressively seek new business opportunities. It's hard to differentiate motherboard offerings and many enthusiasts like to stick with the big brands as they're often perceived as having higher reliability.
MSI for example is shifting its attention to gaming laptops and ASRock is making more motherboards for server and IPC applications:
Buoyed by increasing shipments of gaming notebooks, MSI has managed to ramp up shipments of its high-end motherboards and graphics cards, pointed out the sources, adding that shipments and profits of MSI's graphics cards business will maintain a high level in 2016, while its motherboard product lines are likely to swing back to profitability in the year.
ASRock's IPC motherboard products lines have begun generating profits recently, while its server product business unit is expected to reach breakeven in 2017, said the sources. ASRock's motherboard shipments are likely to drop to four million units in 2016 compared to over four million shipped a year earlier.
Biostar was hit pretty hard last year, the company shipped 1.71 million motherboards in 2015, a collapse of 44 percent from 2014. The company is making an inroad into gaming motherboards and is offering standard IPC systems and other turnkey IPC solutions, as well as smart solutions and motherboard products for medical equipment for Qisda, which is one of its major shareholders. ECS on the other hand increased production of smart gateways, household-use monitors and Internet of Things (IoT) products.