Quanta laptop dances in pole position

No.1 notebook maker

Taiwan has kept its crown as the world's number one notebook manufacturer - the country exported between 12.63m and 14.3m units this year.

The figures come from a trade source speaking to the Taipei Times, who also reveals that Quanta exported 4.3 million notebooks, overtaking Toshiba to become the world's number one producer.

If accurate, Quanta's figures are up on its forecast at the start of the year when it reckoned it would ship between 3.8 million and 4.1 million notebooks, an increase of between 40 and 50 per cent on last year's 2.7 million shipments.

According to Taiwanese industry estimates, world demand for notebooks this year is 25 million units - which means Taiwan makes at least half of them.

Overall the Taiwan numbers are down between 0.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent on last year. In sales value Taiwan will export between $11.47 billion and US$11.66 billion in notebooks this year, down 15 per cent from a year earlier, according to the trade source.

Turning Taiwanese

It has been uneconomical for some time for Japanese firms to make laptops in their home country, and both Toshiba and Sony have turned to Taiwan for OEM assembly. Taiwan is riding a position where it has the technical knowhow to assemble notebooks, combined with manufacturing affordability. This has made it the world's main base for laptops, but China is likely to overtake it in two to three years.

The major Taiwan manufacturers have already turned to China for motherboard assembly, and Quanta announced in March that it was shipping its first "quasi-furbished" Chinese notebooks. This means its China plant will make notebook components and assemble the devices without installing key parts such as the processor. The division of assembly is drvien by Taiwan's regulations which limits local companies technology investments in China.

Quanta has made notebooks for Compaq, Gateway, Dell, IBM, and Apple. It has probably made them for Toshiba and Sony as well, but thsse companies don't always announce these kind of OEM deals. Quanta does not manufacturer under its own name and only deals with companies that can order a minimum of 10,000 notebooks a month.

Dell has signed up Quanta to produce 4.5-5 million high-end portable PCs. Production will commence Q1 2002 and stretch to July 2003. Quanta will ship 250,000-300,000 units per month through 2002 and around three million during 2003.

Dell also planned to become Compal's largest client during the second half of 2001, taking over from Hewlett-Packard. Compal is Taiwan's number two notebook maker and was expected to make two million notebooks for Dell over the year - 88 per cent of its production. At the start of 2001 it forecast its annual shipments would rise to between 2.6 and 2.9 million units for the year. ®

Related Link

Taipei Times story

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