Shipments of computers to that market, which includes Australia, China, Korea, Indonesia, India and Vietnam, among others, but excludes Japan, rose to more than 14.1 million units in 1999, according to the new report from International Data Corp. (IDC).
After two years of slumping sales, the growth in 1999 was somewhat artificially high, the study concluded, but still the highest annual figure ever, and another sign that the Asian economic crisis is on the mend.
Every country tracked experienced annual growth in 1999, IDC found. Up 35.1 percent from 1998, the 14.1 million units shipped to Asia in 1999 were relatively untouched by the factors that contributed to end-of-the-year slowdowns in the United States, such as Y2K-related spending lockdowns and chip shortages.
"After two very tumultuous years, the Asian PC market returned to the fast track in 1999," Kitty Fok, research manager at IDC Asia Pacific, said in a statement today. "Looking forward, conditions such as low PC penetration, particularly in vast untapped markets like China and India, falling prices and growing awareness of the Internet will enable Asia to regain its position as the hottest PC market in the world."
Among manufacturers, IBM took the top spot with 8.4 percent of the market. IBM was followed by Compaq Computer, Legend, Samsung and HP. Dell Computer, although not in the top five, saw its share grow 87 percent in the last year.
PC makers did especially well in their native regions: Chinese manufacturer Legend's volumes grew by more than 79 percent, according to the report, while Korean PC maker Samsung's volumes increased by 78 percent.
By region, growth was strongest in countries hardest hit by the economic crisis of a few years back, such as Indonesia, Korea and Thailand, while shipments in Vietnam grew by more than 273 percent in 1999. PC shipments in Korea grew by 79.2 percent and were up 25.6 percent in China.