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High-end PC prices drop in Taiwan

Four PC makers plan to cut Pentium II computer prices in Taiwan to the point where the high-end machines come into line with their U.S. counterparts.

    Four PC makers plan to cut Pentium II computer prices in Taiwan to the point where the high-end machines come into line with their U.S. counterparts.

    Japan's NEC Computer (NIPNY) and three Taiwanese firms, Philips Taiwan, Compal Electronics, and System Telecommunication & Computer, will each reduce the cost of 233-MHz Pentium II systems below NT$50,000, about $1,550, according to a report in the online edition of Nikkei Business Publications. Personal computers have traditionally cost more in Taiwan and throughout Asia than they have in the U.S.

    Regional economic turmoil, the Taiwanese dollar's depreciation, and a stock market slump are creating pressure to discount systems, Nikkei reported.

    But the price erosion may also be attributable to an oversupply of Pentium II chips, a condition that's already caused U.S. prices on Pentium II systems to fall much faster than they did with previous generations of Intel microprocessors. Intel has announced Pentium II price cuts for February of 1998, and some large U.S. manufacturers will pay a discounted price beginning in January, CNET's NEWS.COM reported last month..

    The Pentium II has further met with tepid consumer demand, owing to charges that Intel's top-of-the-line chip doesn't offer a significant performance improvement of the Pentium Pro and the Pentium "classic."

    NEC said it will sell a 233-MHz Pentium II system for around NT$48,000 (about $1,490). In the U.S., NEC's PowerMate ENT, with a 233-MHz Pentium II, 32MB of memory, and no monitor, sells for $1,749.

    Philips Taiwan and System Telecommunication will market 233-MHz systems for about NT$50,000. The latter's Leo PC, which will include a 15-inch monitor, is discounted about NT$6,000 ($185).