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China became world's BIGGEST PC market in 2012

PRC yokels have a penchant for desktops and 14-in notebooks

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China has surpassed the US as the world’s largest PC market, in terms of annual sales, with the nation's huge untapped rural market offering manufacturers a rare growth opportunity, according to industry watcher IHS iSuppli.

PC shipments in China during 2012 reached 69 million units, three million more than the States could manage, with demand skewed towards the bigger and bulkier designs, according to the PC Dynamics Market Brief.

Unlike the rest of the world, where notebooks are in far greater demand than desktop PCs, IHS said there’s an even 50:50 split in China. When it comes to the notebooks, fourteen-inchers are most sought after, accounting for 70 per cent of shipments, rather than the 30 per cent seen elsewhere globally.

“The relatively large percentage of desktop PC shipments in China is due to huge demand in the country’s rural areas, which account for a major segment of the country’s 1.34 billion citizens,” said senior analyst Peter Lin in a canned statement.

“These consumers tend to prefer the desktop form factor.”

These first-time rural buyers offer a rare opportunity for PC makers to flog their kit, especially as the government builds out infrastructure into these previously isolated areas in a 40 trillion yuan (a mere £4tn ) project over the next decade, IHS said.

China also differs from other regions in that its PC market is split right down the middle between corporate and consumer, whereas elsewhere consumer has the larger share with 65 per cent, the report noted.

Having trumped the States in annual PC shipments, just as it did mobile phones and then smartphones, China is unlikely to hand that lead back, although IHS did note that the market would only grow by 3-4 per cent in 2013 as consumers continue to migrate to mobile computing devices.

In fact, IDC claimed earlier this month that a slowdown in spending in China last quarter helped contribute to APAC’s first ever double digit decline in PC shipments, as they slumped 13 per cent year-on-year. ®

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