Asustek to introduce low-priced Win 8.1-based laptop in Taiwan


TAIPEI — Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc. is seeking to widen its lead in the local notebook computer market with the introduction of a new low-priced laptop that was announced in Taipei yesterday.

The Transformer Book T100 runs the latest Windows 8.1 operating system and Intel Corp.’s low-power Atom Bay Trial quad-core processor. It can be transformed into a 10.1-inch tablet when its keyboard dock is removed.

The hybrid device, with a 64GB storage capacity, will go in sale in Taiwan on Oct. 18 at a cost of NT$12,988 (US$442), as part of the Taiwanese brand’s efforts to boost its local market share.

Kevin Lin, general manager of sales at Asustek, said the company held a dominant 42 percent share of Taiwan’s notebook market in the first half of 2013. He expected the figure to hit 45 percent in the third quarter and 42 percent for the whole of 2013, both of which will be record highs for Asustek.

“We are growing against the industry headwinds as overall notebook shipments in Taiwan are forecast to decline by 8-10 percent this year,” Lin said at a press briefing.

Also on Wednesday, Asustek announced two high-end models of the Transformer Book series — the 13.3-inch T300 and the dual-OS Trio TX201 — which will go on sale in November.

Asustek and Acer Inc. of Taiwan saw their global shipments of personal computers fall by over 30 percent year-on-year in the third quarter because of the companies’ high exposure to the consumer PC segment, tech-tracking firm IDC said in an Oct. 9 report.

While Asustek’s September sales grew 3 percent from the previous month and its third-quarter sales grew 19 percent sequentially, the momentum seemed come mainly from its tablet business rather than notebooks, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“Asustek is still in a better position relative to Acer in product design, but we think both companies will need to see some recovery of year-on-year growth momentum, or their competitive position will likely be further weakened by the shorter product cycle,” Merrill Lynch analyst Robert Cheng said in a research note Tuesday.

Asustek shares closed down 0.95 percent at NT$209 Wednesday in Taipei.