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China's mobile PC shipments leapfrogs desktop PCs

Posted: 14 Mar 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile PC? PC market? desktop shipments?

The rapid growth of the China PC market is driven by the mobile PC segment, which includes notebooks, mini-notes and tablet PCs. This is based on the "Quarterly China PC shipment and forecast report by NPD DisplaySearch.

The report also states that total PC shipments in the second half of 2011 reached 53.4 million, up 12.7 percent from the first half of the year. China is the largest market for desktop PCs and related displays (monitors or displays in all-in-one PCs), the No. 3 market for tablet PCs and the No. 4 market for notebook PCs and mini-notes, the report said. For the PC market as a whole, China is No. 3, just behind North America and EMEA.

The NPD's report noted a slowdown in the desktop PC market in 2H11, up only 1 percent compared to 1H11 and down 3 percent YoY. The all-in-one PC market continued to show good growth, up 32 percent compared to the first half of last year.

Although shipments in desktop PCs are flat, the mobile PC market continued to show strong growth, reaching 26.5 million in 2H11, up 25 percent from 1H11. In the third quarter of 2011, mobile PC shipments in China exceeded desktop PC shipments for the first time, thanks to the tremendous growth of tablet PCs.

China PC shipments

Figure 1: China PC shipments by application (2009-2011).
Source: NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly China PC shipment and forecast report.

"China continues to try to bolster domestic production of LCD panels to try to meet demand for both PC and TV displays," said Robin Wu, PC and TFT analyst for NPD DisplaySearch. "But most of China's LCD production is from smaller Gen 5 fabrication lines, which cannot compete with larger Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese fabs in large panel production; these fabs have thus focused production on small/medium panel production, causing some shortages," noted Wu. For example, 19in wide panels (the mainstream size for desktop monitors in China) were in short supply. This affected Chinese brands such as AOC, which saw its LCD monitor shipments decrease 10 percent in 3Q11.

The mini-note PC market in China continues to shrink. With Lenovo stopping shipments in 3Q11, total shipment volume decreased to 668 thousand in the period. However, tablet PC shipments in China reached 4 million in 3Q11.

NPD DisplaySearch preliminary data for 4Q11 suggests that 11.5 million tablet PCs shipped in China in 2011. Like many other regions in the world, Apple continued its dominant position in tablet PCs, while other brands like Lenovo and Samsung are struggling to catch up. Unlike other regions, however, white-box tablet PCs have a large share in this region.

"Based on strong results in 2011, domestic brands are making aggressive plans for 2012," added Wu. "With estimated growth of 28 percent in 2011, all brands expect continued good performance in notebook PCs, implying tougher market competition ahead in the China PC market."

The NPD DisplaySearch's report is the first collective look at the entire personal computer market in mainland China, including tablet PCs, desktop PCs, all-in-one PCs, notebook PCs, and mini-notes. It provides the most comprehensive survey of domestic PC brands and associated products, such as desktop monitors, giving an accurate picture of the China PC market (due to the popularity of building DIY systems in China). The report also highlights the unique nature of the domestic China PC business and offers comparisons with other regions of the PC market.

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