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Asian PC market makes slight recovery

Personal computer sales in Asia gain 3.6 percent in the first quarter of this year as 5.4 million desktops, notebooks and Intel-based servers ship there.

Personal computer sales in Asia regained slightly in the first quarter of 2002, defying a worldwide contraction of 2.7 percent from the same period last year.

During the quarter, a total of 5.4 million desktops, notebooks and Intel-based servers were shipped in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan). Compared with the same period in 2001, this represented an increase of 3.6 percent, market researcher IDC Asia-Pacific said.

"Growth registered by seven Asian countries, including mature markets like South Korea and Australia, looks promising," Bryan Ma, IDC Asia-Pacific research manager for Personal Systems, said in a statement.

Although a full recovery is not yet in sight, these are initial signs to support a more significant rebound in the second half of the year, Ma noted.

However, PC companies experienced a slowdown during the Chinese New Year holidays in February, and the impact was particularly evident in China. "Many companies in China were closed for several weeks and this resulted in an 8.6 percent sequential decline from the fourth quarter," he said.

For instance, China's largest PC maker, the Legend Group, registered a 15.5 percent decline in shipments for the first quarter compared with the preceding quarter. But this did not affect its No. 1 ranking in the region's personal computer market.

Korea's Samsung outshined IBM to take the second spot. Samsung's improved performance came on the back of a recovery in the Korean market during the quarter, when many corporations replaced desktop PCs with notebooks, IDC said.

Compaq Computer and IBM claimed the third and fourth spots respectively, while Dell Computer was in fifth place.

Irene Tham reported from Singapore.