IHS noted several peculiarities with the Chinese market when compared with the rest of the world. The split between desktop and notebook sales was 50-50. Outside of China, only 36 percent of the computers sold are desktops. The research firm said this discrepancy was created by rural Chinese customer’s desire for the desktop format, although by next year notebook sales should outpace desktop.
“The equal share of shipments for desktops and notebooks in China is unusual, since consumers in most regions today tend to prefer more agile mobile PCs, rather than the bulky, stationary desktops,” said Peter Lin, senior analyst for compute platforms at IHS. “The relatively large percentage of desktop PC shipments in China is due to huge demand in the country’s rural areas, which account for a major segment of the country’s 1.34 billion citizens. These consumers tend to prefer the desktop form factor.”
The orders put China above the United States for the first time. The US, which was the largest market up until 2011, last year dropped to second place, with orders for 66 million units.
Laptops are the fastest rising sector in developed markets and have overtaken PCs, but in China the sale of desktops and laptops is evenly split, according to BBC.
(Video by Wall Street Journal Digital Network)
Demand for PCs in China is projected to grow by just 3-4 percent this year as China comes into line with others in preferring smaller devices. The Chinese government is investing heavily in computer infrastructure, and plans to spend around 40 trillion yuan ($6.4trn; £4.2trn) building rural infrastructure in the next 10 years, according to IHS iSuppli.
Nevertheless, just because China became the top PC market doesn’t necessarily mean that sales are doing well there, argued Rachel King, a staff writer for ZDNet based in San Francisco.
In fact, IHS analysts acknowledged that demand for PCs in China is on par with that around the rest of the world, continually weakening in the face of the shift to mobile. Thus, analysts are only forecasting China’s PC space to grow by three to four percent in 2013.
This industry, however, is being challenged by increased consumer spending on media tablets and smartphones, despite some improvement in the global economy and release of personal computers that run Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system, according to South China Morning Post.