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PC sales in China to grow despite downturn

CHINA'S personal computer sales will grow in 2009 despite global PC market sales being expected to decrease because of reduced information technology demand during the economic downturn, a US-based IT research firm said today.

In China, PC sales are expected to reach 46.6 million in 2009, up 13.1 percent over 2008. In contrast, global PC sales will decline 2 percent to 285 million units compared with last year, according to US-based research firm Gartner Inc.

"PC demand appears be running much stronger than we expected back in June, especially in the United States and China," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.

"Mobile PC (laptop) shipments have regained substantial momentum, especially in emerging markets and the decline in desk-based PC shipments is slowing down," said Shiffler.

For the worldwide PC market, Gartner's new forecast was more optimistic than its June outlook, which anticipated a global 6 percent unit decline in 2009.

The worldwide desktop PC will decline 2.8 percent in 2009 but mobile PC shipments will grow 25.6 percent, according to Gartner.

"The toughest periods have passed in China, thanks to the government," said Ian Yang, president of Intel Corp China.

China unveiled a 4 trillion yuan (US$585 billion) stimulus package last year to boost the economy, which included spending on IT infrastructure nationwide.

Meanwhile, it also launched a "Home Appliance to Rural Areas" project which saw the government provide a 13 percent subsidy on authorized products such as PCs, TVs and cell phones to boost purchases in rural areas.

PC makers like Lenovo Group Ltd and Acer Inc have benefited from the policy, the companies' officials said.

Dell Inc, the world's No. 2 PC maker, is also expanding in rural areas in China, said Michael Yang, Dell's vice president.

Netbooks, a smaller version of notebooks with basic functions like Internet and word processing, are expected to boost the demand for PCs, Gartner said.

In China, sales of netbooks are expected to hit 20 million units, a jump of 124 percent year on year, according to CCW Research, a Beijing-based IT Consulting firm.


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