PC markets to grow 25 per cent over six years

Established PC markets will grow just 25 per cent over the next six years, according to Forrester Research.

The current global figure for the number of personal computers is pegged at around 575mn, and established markets such as the US and Europe will not add more than 150mn to that figure by the end of the decade.

Emerging markets however are set to explode and more than make up for the stagnant waters of established territories. The report looks at 16 emerging markets in areas such as China, India and Russia, and predicts a booming computer industry there will boost the global figure to 1.3bn by 2010: double that of today.

It might seem surprising then that IBM would miss such an opportunity by selling its PC business to Chinese OEM Lenovo, but Forrester’s Senior Analyst Simon Yates thinks sales in emerging markets will be driven by native companies making equipment tailored to the local needs of customers.

‘Today’s products from Western PC vendors won’t dominate in those markets in the long term,’ says Forrester Senior Analyst Simon Yates. ‘Instead, local PC makers like Lenovo Group in China and Aquarius in Russia that can better tailor the PC form factor, price point, and applications to their local markets will ultimately win the market share battle.’

IBM’s gamble then is that its stake in Lenovo will now prove more valuable than trying to sell into China direct.

Yates predicts there will be clear winners and losers in the battle for these new markets, with the pressure to lower prices ever increasing as PC ownership flourishes.

He says Linux systems can start off on an even footing with Windows, as there is no legacy installed base of the dominant platform in these markets. And with a lower price and the ability to create customised versions it may well become the preferred platform.

Wireless systems will dominate over wired, as the cost of laying a hard-wired network into rural areas will make 3G networks and WiMax access the more economic choice.

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