Inventec predicts growth in second half of ’11


TAIPEI — Inventec Corp., the world’s No. 4 contract laptop PC maker, forecasts better prospects for PC shipments in the second half of this year and is increasing shipments of non-notebook products to raise its gross profit margin rate, the company chairman said yesterday.

“The PC market will not grow too much in the second quarter because it is a time for vendors to shift from their old models to the new ones,” said Inventec Chairman Richard Lee. He added that the growth will increase in the third and the fourth quarters.

“The impact of an Intel chip recall will last only one month, with the total PC shipments continuing to grow from March,” he said.

Lee made the remarks on the sidelines of a lunch gathering organized by the Cloud Computing Association of Taiwan, in which he serves as vice president.

For the whole of 2011, Inventec aims to ship 20 million notebooks, while the combined total of its high-margin products such as tablet PCs, e-readers and “smart books” — a cloud computing-based computer without a hard disk — will reach 10 million units this year, he said.

The Taiwan-based company also expects its e reader shipments to exceed 1 million units for every quarter of this year, compared with about 800,000 units in the fourth quarter of 2010.

“So far, we are the only worldwide supplier of color e-readers and we will soon begin shipments of similar products with third-generation (3G) wireless communication abilities,” Lee said.

In terms of Inventec’s server business, he went on, the annual revenue generated by the segment has grown at a stable rate of 25 percent-30 percent for the past few years, while server shipments have increased at a higher rate.

Last year, 30 percent of the 8 million servers shipped globally were made by Inventec, making the company the world’s No. 1 contract server maker.

Inventec and its affiliates agreed Jan.27 to acquire a 47.97-percent stake in solar cell maker E-Ton Solar Tech. Co. for NT$5.06 billion (US$174 million) to gain a foothold in the renewable energy business.

“We have found that the development of the solar cell market has been faster than we could have imagined, so we have decided to acquire E-Ton instead of building plants or buying equipment by ourselves,” Lee said.

The combined production of E-Ton and Inventec’s solar cell units are expected to reach 1 gigawatt by the end of this year, helping Inventec to approach its target of ranking among the world’s top three solar cell makers, Lee said.