May 16, 2000 11:45 AM PDT

PC sales up in Asia Pacific region

SINGAPORE--If the Asia Pacific market is anything to go by, the PC is still going strong.

Despite the rise of Internet appliances and handheld devices, a preliminary report by research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) shows that the Asia Pacific PC market grew again in the first quarter of the year.

During this period, 4.24 million PCs were imported into the region, marking the sixth straight quarter of growth and a whopping 43 percent increase over imports in the first quarter of 1999.

The surge in demand was powered in part by the "Internet PC" program in Korea. To help lower-income users own PCs, the government-backed project pushed demand up 143 percent from the first quarter of 1999, making Korea the region's second largest market after China.

Singapore performed better than expected, as high-volume government tenders were backed by increased commercial buying. This created a 13 percent growth to 120,000 units. The market had stayed at the 106,000-unit mark for the two previous quarters. It was enough to make the island the eighth largest PC market.

Among vendors, this quarter saw Korea's Samsung overtake IBM and China's Legend as the market leader, with 384,000 units, or 9.1 percent of the regional market. Growth was attributed to the company's marketing to students.

According to the report in The Business Times, the growth spurt is not seen as a flash in the pan. IDC analyst Davina Yeo told the paper that "after these government sponsored rallies, IDC expects the regional PC market's momentum to continue at the same aggressive pace."


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