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Chinese state tightwads help strangle Asia-Pacific PC sales in 2013

Not even Windows 8 and Ultrabooks can stem the tide

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Asia-Pacific has well and truly succumbed to the global economic malaise, with the region’s PC market declining 13 per cent year-on-year in the last quarter – its first ever double digit drop, according to IDC.

Not even the launch of Windows 8 in China in October and more Intel-powered ultrabooks could stop PC sales sliding to 26.4 million units in Q1 2013, as buyers continue to favour smartphones and tablets instead of traditional desktops.

Q1 is a traditionally slow time of year anyway, due to the Chinese New Year, but the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region did even worse this year with tighter public spending in the People’s Republic particularly affecting Lenovo, according to IDC research manager Handoko Andi.

He told The Reg that Microsoft and Intel face significant challenges in monetising their technology; Redmond because not enough affordable touch-enabled Win 8 notebooks have hit the market, and Chipzilla because end users “still really don’t know the value proposition of ultrabooks”.

Lenovo, which sold the most PCs in the quarter, suffered a sales drop of six per cent, year on year. Dell and HP are tied for second place; their sales "growth" for Q1 was -2 and -4 per cent respectively./p>

Asus in fifth place recorded -15 per cent, but Acer (in fourth) fared worst, with a whopping drop of 35 per cent.

Handoko argued that PC makers can no longer rely on expanding into lower tier cities in developed markets, pushing into emerging markets like Myanmar, or appealing to the growing APAC middle class in order to boost sales.

“These are probably not enough to help vendors get back to positive growth. They need to go back to their existing customers, the ones extending the lifespan of their current products, and do more,” he said.

Handoko added that 2013 was likely to be a make-or-break year for the APAC PC market – one in which the launch of Haswell-based ultrabooks and Windows Blue could yet turn things around. ®

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