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Report: China to take notebook crown

The country will become the world's largest manufacturer of notebooks by the end of this year, supplanting Taiwan, according to a report.

China is expected to displace Taiwan as the world's largest manufacturer of notebook PCs by the end of the year, according to IMS Research.

The market research firm, based in the U.K., reports that notebook PC production has exploded there over the past year. Most major foreign notebook PC makers have either completed or are starting to relocate factories to China.

The Chinese plants, owned mainly by Taiwanese companies, will churn out 20 million units this year, more than 50 percent of this year?s total worldwide volume, according to IMS Research.

Some basic notebook design work will follow the move to China, but research and development operations will remain at company headquarters, said Ann Bird, China market analyst at IMS Research. These headquarters are mainly in Taiwan, she said.

China's largest notebook PC production base is in Suzhou, a province in eastern China. The annual output of PCs there is close to 10 million units--about a quarter of the world's total, according to a report from news agency Xinhua.

The nine leading companies in Taiwan have established plants in Suzhou. These companies include Uniwell Computer, Acer and Mitac International.

Korean electronics giant Samsung also plans to locate its notebook computer production in Suzhou.

Suzhou's electronics manufacturing sector has surpassed its tourism industry--formerly the most active area of its economy--to become the top revenue earner. Forty percent of the sector's total manufacturing revenue comes from the investment of 700 Taiwanese firms, according to Xinhua.

CNETAsia staff reported from Singapore.