Taiwan firms strain to secure mainland notebook market

The China Post staff

Personal computer has become a highly contested market in mainland China in recent years. According to the statistics conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) in May, mainland and American computer makers have dominated the mainland notebook computer market, while Taiwan companies have struggled hard to secure a niche, accounting for only 14.4 percent of notebook PC sales.

Facing such vigorous competition from their U.S. and Japanese counterparts in the mainland market, Taiwan companies are under immense pressure to enhance the image of Taiwan products. The IDC statistics show that the market share of the two largest mainland-based computer producers, namely Legend and Peking University Founder, was 23.2 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively. IDC’s report lists both companies among the top ten PC makers, with a combined share of 29.6 percent of the mainland notebook PC market.

The statistics also marked the first time that Legend replaced IBM and Toshiba as the mainland’s top notebook computer maker. Taiwan companies that were among the top ten included Acer (No.4), Twinhead (No.8), and ASUSTek (No.10). The three companies in total had a market share of 14.4 percent, less than half the figure of their mainland counterparts. Meanwhile, American firms, including IBM, Dell, and Compaq, altogether accounted for 30.2 percent of the mainland notebook computer market, representing a comparable force to the mainland makers. Japanese firms Toshiba and NEC were also listed among the top ten, with a combined 17.5 percent share of the market. Compared with mainland, U.S., and Japanese PC makers, Taiwan companies are relatively uncompetitive in the mainland notebook computer market, despite the fact that the island is the hub of the global computer industry and has been known for its research and development capabilities and manufacturing technology. Industry observers note that, to mainland consumers, the image of Taiwan enterprises and products is inferior to that of American and Japanese companies. Therefore, Taiwan companies need to exert more efforts in promoting the image of Taiwan-made products so as to expand the share in the mainland market. However, the IDC statistics suggest that the difference in the market share of Taiwan and Japanese firms has reduced in 2000 compared to a year earlier. The same applies to mainland and American companies. In other words, for Taiwan computer makers, the competition in the mainland notebook computer market is increasingly from mainland-based companies.