Power Electronics

Taiwan Celebrates "The Year of the Notebook"

When Apple founder Steve Jobs proclaimed that 2003 was “The Year of the Notebook,” he proved to be right on many counts.

Jobs was referring to Apple’s product mix in which sales of notebooks now make up some 50% of total sales, replacing the traditional desktop PC. According to DisplaySearch, global notebook PC shipments will increase 20% in the third quarter of 2003.

In fact, DisplaySearch predicts that the period between third-quarter 2003 and fourth-quarter 2004 will experience higher growth rates than the preceding 10 quarters, with increases averaging 20% to 25%.

This replacement trend is boosting Taiwan manufacturers, who will make 76.9% of the world’s notebooks in 2003, up from just 34.4% in 1997.

Taiwan’s top notebook PC makers in 2003 will continue to be Quanta, who will make an astonishing 25% of the world’s notebooks, and Compal with some 16% of all notebooks. Other major Taiwan makers include Inventec, Wistron, and ASUSTeK.

What is driving this newfound growth in notebooks? According to DisplaySearch, the 10 key drivers are:

  • Powerful video graphics controllers manufactured by NVIDIA and ATI.
  • More wireless convenience. Proliferation of so-called “hotspots” through airports, cafes, etc. that allow true mobility.
  • Desktop replacement. Notebook vs. desktop PC
  • New CPU introduction and promotion—Intel Centrino, AMD, and Transmeta promoting wireless access.
  • Power consumption reduction, meaning longer battery life.
  • Better thermal solutions to solve overheating problems common in earlier models.
  • A one-computer policy at major corporations, rather than one desktop and one notebook.
  • More attractive form factors—slim, lightweight, and wide aspect viewing widen the appeal for users in all segments.
  • Asia market growth potential, not just U.S./European growth.
  • Prevailing Standard Panel Working Group (SPWG) Mechanical and Electrical Display standard means panels are becoming standardized.

Aggressive promotion of low-priced consumer notebook PCs by leading brand-name vendors drove Taiwan notebook PC shipments to a record-high 5.6 million units for year-on-year growth of 22.5% in the second quarter of 2003, according to Taiwan’s Market Intelligence Center (MIC).

In terms of display sizes, models bundling 15-in. panels comprised 51% of total shipments, with 14-in. displays making up 39% of Taiwan notebook PC shipments.

Shipment value, fuelled by strong volume growth accompanied with gentle price declines, increased 6.2% year-on-year to a new high of $3.6 billion.

For more information, visit www.taiwantrade.com.tw.

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