Driven by the rise of Ultrabooks, the release of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 8 operating system and the arrival of Intel Corp.’s Ivy Bridge microprocessor, China’s PC market in 2012 will expand by a robust 13 percent rate compared to 2011, according to the IHS iSuppli China Research service at information and analysis provider IHS.
China has become the most important PC market worldwide, representing 22 percent of global demand and contributing more than 90 percent of total production. As a result of this demand, PC shipments in 2012 will reach 83.6 million units, up from 73.9 million units in 2011 and from 67.0 million units in 2010, as shown in Figure 5.
Ultrabooks are slim and light notebook PCs that deliver five or more hours of battery life in between charges and boot times of 7 seconds or less. Because of these features, Ultrabooks have the opportunity to become the next growth driver for the notebook industry.
Windows 8 requires less powerful processors than Windows 7 and consumes 30 percent less internal memory. It’s also the first Windows operating system to support the low-cost ARM microprocessor platform. These features will enable new PCs that are more affordable.
With Windows 8 and Intel’s Ivy Bridge expected to arrive in late 2012, PC market growth this year will be weighted toward the end of the year.
HDD Setback Won’t Stall Desktops
In China’s desktop PC market, annual growth is expected to rise to 8 percent in 2012, up from 5 percent in 2011.
While the Thailand floods last year severely impacted the global supply of hard disk drives (HDD), HDD output is now predicted to recover to its original level by the third quarter this year. Any problems that may have been brought on by the previous HDD supply shortfall will not affect the China desktop market, projected to see continued steady growth in 2012.
The country’s commercial desktop PC market is also full of new opportunities, with many companies in the medical, traffic, energy and utilities industries looking to replace or purchase new systems in 2012.
IHS forecasts China’s share of global desktop PC shipments will increase to 11 percent in 2012, up from 7 percent in 2011.
As for the notebook PC market in China, IHS predicts sales will gain momentum from the introduction of Ultrabooks, with PC makers such as Lenovo, Acer, Asustek, Hewlett-Packard and Samsung all devoted to developing new Ultrabook models. IHS forecasts the Ultrabook will account for 15 to 20 percent of total notebook PC shipments in China in 2012.
Even so, the market appears to have inflated expectations for Ultrabook sales, mainly because the Ultrabook’s bill of materials (BOM) remains too high due to strict requirements in hardware design. This will drive up prices and limit shipment growth.