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Taiwan a player in notebooks

Taiwanese notebook makers are expected to become an even larger force in notebook computers as they bring out 200-MHz Pentium models with MMX.

Taiwanese notebook manufacturers such as Acer are expected to become an even larger force in notebook computers as they bring out 200-MHz Intel Pentium models with MMX technology later in the year.

The new systems are expected to help propel regional output, possibly helping Taiwan surpass Japan as the world's largest producer of notebook computers, according to a report in Taiwan's Commercial Times, a business publication. The report was published in Japan's Nikkei Business.

In 1997, the use of a recently introduced mobile motherboard from Intel will help Taiwanese manufacturers achieve a 29 percent growth rate. (Intel is an investor in CNET: The Computer Network.)

Manufacturing notebook PCs has in the past required a high level of manufacturing and engineering expertise. Japanese manufacturers such as Toshiba have typically held an advantage in that area.

But an Intel-built notebook motherboard, which holds the guts of a notebook computer, could reduce the need for notebook manufacturers to have this kind of expertise in-house. Moreover, Taiwanese manufacturers are also now perfecting in-house design and manufacturing capabilities for notebook PCs. Thus, manufacturers such as Acer, First International Computer, GVC Corporation, Quanta Computer, Dual Technology, Twinhead, and Chicony Electronics will be able to bring products to market faster.

More than 90 percent of last year's total output of 3.77 million units was done for top-tier notebook vendors, according to the report. Though the report did not mention specific names, companies such as Compaq, Dell, Sharp, Fujitsu source notebooks from Taiwanese manufacturers.

By focusing on manufacturing partnerships, Taiwanese manufacturers gained a 32 percent share of global notebook production.

Output could reach more than 5 million units in 1997, which would likely help Taiwan overtake Japan in notebook output.