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iMac, Vaio drive record Japanese PC sales

Christmas season PC shipments up 16 per cent growth

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Trade organisation the Japanese Electronic Industry Development Association (JEIDA) today reported Japan's domestic PC shipments grew 16 per cent over the final quarter of calendar 1998. JEIDA cited large numbers of first-time buyers, plus particularly popular products, specifically Apple's iMac desktops and Sony's Vaio notebooks, as key factors behind the season's record sales. Between October and December 1998, 1.85 million personal computers were sold in Japan, up 16 per cent on the same period in 1997. It also represents the second consecutive quarterly increase in sales, said JEIDA officials. The head of JEIDA's PC study group, Tetsuya Mizoguchi, said: "The strong figures show the domestic PC market has hit bottom. New models and the launch of Windows 98 helped turn around the sluggish sales trend earlier this year." In the six months to 30 September, Japanese PC sales fell three per cent to 3.27 million units. JEIDA officials said the organisation expects the year as a whole to show growth of five per cent, reaching total shipments of 7.2 million units. Last year, the market shrank by five per cent. Mizoguchi added that "new-style" PCs like the iMac and Vaio had proved essential in attracting young, first-time buyers. Yet despite the increase in the number of new buyers entering the PC market, they still account for only 80 per cent of that market. JEIDA estimates put iMac sales since its late August launch at 120,000 units. Apple sold 519,000 units worldwide in the Christmas quarter, it claimed. However, it does not release figures for individual territories. Vaio sales, according to JEIDA, also reached 120,000 units, though this figure is just for the last quarter. ®

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