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Acer wants to buy a PC competitor, bury Lenovo

Acer is going to try to make a major purchase in the PC world this year and says it will pass Lenovo to become the third largest computer maker in the world.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Acer Chairman and CEO J.T. Wang said the Taiwan-based company wants to make a meaningful acquisition of another PC maker this year. "We are looking at some candidates which we want to pick up," he said.

With an acquisition under its belt, Acer would likely pass Lenovo to become the No. 3 PC maker in the world. Even without an acquisition, however, Acer will likely pass Lenovo, based in mainland China, anyway, Wang said. Acer will likely grow units by 30 percent or more this year, he said, while the industry will grow at a slower rate.

Acer has been one of the key companies to watch in the PC sector for the last several years. It has grown faster than any other major PC maker since 2003, outpacing larger rivals like Dell and smaller ones with greater name cachet like Apple and Toshiba that have benefited, respectively, from music players and increased shipments of laptops.

In 2003, the company only had 2.9 percent of the worldwide market and wasn't in the top five. In the fourth quarter of last year, market share went to 7.1 percent, more than twice the 2003 number.

The company's strategy has largely been to make notebooks and desktops that are some of the least expensive in the mid- to high-price bands. It has also concentrated on growing markets like Europe and Asia, although it will start to put more emphasis on North America.