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Legend plans European notebook launch for April

Huge in China

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

China's biggest computer maker and the Asian PC market leader, Legend Holdings Ltd, plans to launch in Europe, starting with a low-end notebook that will be manufactured on the continent by Taiwan-based First International Computer Inc.

According to DigiTimes, the Taiwan electronics news service, Legend sees an opportunity in the European budget notebook sector which has already proved a profitable shelter from the dominant, but more expensive US brands for local manufacturers, such as Austria's Gericom AG.

Legend has already made an experimental foray into Europe with the launch last September of its QDI notebook, again in association with FIC. However, that was just a toe in the water exercise. in April, sources say, the Chinese company wants to make a major impact in Southern European markets as a precursor to a wider European expansion.

Legend's aggressive plans for Europe may raise eyebrows in some quarters, given that many analysts believe the company's domestic stronghold will come under severe competitive pressure this year as more US companies flood into China in the wake of its entry into the World Trade Organization. WTO entry is expected to wipe out Legend's price advantage in its home market, which has previously been protected by tariffs ranging from 20 per cent to 15 per cent of the cost of a machine.

However, Legend says it is confident that it can meet all comers on a level footing, pointing to its established 12 per cent share of the Asian market, a substantial 30 per cent share of the China market, and a 2,000 strong-distributor network in the country which is the world's fastest growing PC market.

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