As the world's personal computer sales slow down, Chinese makers are striving to expand their market share with the promotion of Intel's Pentium 4 processors. Price cuts are becoming frequent and competition among new products is heating up.
The US chip giant, which just lowered the prices of its Pentium 4 series of central processing units on April 29, will continue to adjust prices throughout the year in the hope they will be among the top choices for users, despite only accounting for about 5 percent of the total processor market, according to Charles Shen, a spokesman of Intel China.
TCL Computer Co, the second largest player in the Chinese computer market last year, is among the most enthusiastic of the computer manufacturers.
General Manager Yang Weiqiang of the company said: "Pentium 4 processors provide a golden opportunity for TCL.
"If we can always grasp the opportunities, then the changes in sales may lead to a change of position for my company in the market."
Yang recently revealed his ambition to reshuffle the industry.
On March 1, the company launched the 988H-T computer, the first model in China using Pentium 4 1.3GHz processors, for 9,988 yuan (US$1,206), breaking the customers' psychological line of 10,000 yuan (US$1,207).
Twenty days later, its 988L model began selling for 8,899 yuan (US$1,075). On April 23, it launched another new model - the 988N with Pentium 4 1.7GHz processors.
Statistics from the International Data Corporation (IDC), a worldwide IT market research firm, showed that TCL retained a monthly growth rate of 2 percentage points last year.
It is believed that TCL's enthusiasm in Pentium 4-based computers may pose serious threats to other players in the sector, including Legend and Founder PC, and they are also taking measures to fend off the threats from TCL and take advantage of the promotion of Pentium 4 processors.
Legend, the largest computer vendor in the Asia Pacific region (not including Japan), reacted by cutting prices from 1,000 yuan to 2,000 yuan (US$121-US$242) of its two Pentium 4-based models on April 13, selling them at 10,988 (US$1,327) and 11,998 yuan (US$1,450) respectively.
Founder PC also said it had been adjusting its product prices in accordance with the demand of the market and would sell 1.6 million PCs this year.
According to IDC, computer sales in China rose by more than 40 percent in the first quarter of this year and almost 2 million units were sold.
Analysts of the international IT survey firms also predicted that PC makers would cut PC prices significantly to promote sales, and price wars in the coming months would be fierce.
(China Daily 05/09/2001)