Barclays PLC expects more excitement from Computex


TAIPEI — The next breakthroughs which are expected to boost the slowing personal computer industry are to be showcased at the world’s second-largest tech trade fair, according to British investment bank Barclays PLC.

Unlike the past few years, Barclays expects this year’s Computex, slated for June 5-9 in Taipei, to generate more excitement, as in 2007 when netbooks were first introduced.

“We will, for the first time, be able to see actual working PCs running on Windows 8 (preview version), in addition to various models of ultrabooks running Intel Corp.’s Ivy Bridge CPU,” Kirk Yang, an analyst at Barclays in Hong Kong, wrote in a recent note to clients.

“We also expect to see various cloud computing strategies from different PC companies, such as the Acer Cloud, with better convergence devices,” he said.

The bank remains optimistic about Asian brand PC companies, due to their market share gains and strong outlook for the second half of 2012, with China’s Lenovo Group and Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc. listed as its top picks.

However, leading PC vendors, including Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP), Lenovo, and Dell Inc., reported first quarter results last week, indicating that demand in Europe is slowing the consumer segment for HP, as well as the corporate segment for Lenovo and public sector for Dell, Barclays added.

Although none of the brand PC companies are cutting back on their current quarterly guidance, their original design manufacturers (ODMs) and suppliers are becoming more cautious, to avoid any potential excess inventory, especially toward the end of the second quarter, the bank said.

Further, Barclays has revised down its notebook shipments forecast for May to an increase of 14 percent month-on-month from 16 percent, while it sees some potential order delays for Taiwanese contract laptop makers Compal Electronics Inc. and Wistron Corp.

It also slightly trimmed its second-quarter notebook shipment forecast to a rise of 8 percent quarter-on-quarter from 9 percent, as some ODMs are moving toward the low-end of their guidance range for the second quarter of 2012.