PC shipments in China have bypassed the U.S. market, clocking 18.5 million units and sales worth US$11.9 billion in the second quarter of 2011, according to a new report from IDC.
Released Wednesday, the figures revealed that China accounted for 22 percent of global PC shipments, while the U.S. contributed slightly less at 21 percent, shipping 17.7 million units worth US$11.7 billion.
For the year 2011, IDC estimates that the US will remain the world's largest PC market with a projected 73.5 million units, compared to 72.4 million in China. The research firm expects the U.S. to be ahead of the Chinese market during the holiday season in fourth quarter 2011.
China, however, will outperform the U.S. in full-year shipments next year when the Asian economic powerhouse is projected to ship 85.2 million units, compared to the U.S. 76.6 million, according to IDC.
Kitty Fok, the research firm's vice president for Greater China research, said in the report: "There are of course still risks ahead for China including not just inflation, but also the impact of economic conditions in the U.S. and Europe.
"But in the meantime, the Chinese government's 12th Five-Year Plan should help large enterprises in various infrastructure verticals to continue to move along, not to mention of course the ongoing efforts to increase consumer penetration in lower-tier cities."
Describing China's lead in the market as "a huge shift", Loren Loverde, IDC's program vice president of worldwide PC tracker, noted that this upward movement reflected the growing fortunes of emerging markets as well as stagnation in more mature regions.
Loverde added that the ongoing economic situation in the U.S. and other global markets also helped accelerate China's move into pole position.
IDC's PC market figures included shipments to distribution channels and end-users, and covered 80 countries. The number included desktops, portables and mini-notebooks but excluded handhelds and tablets.
According to preliminary figures released by Gartner last month, global PC shipment for the second quarter saw weaker-than-expected growth of 2.3 percent year-on-year, compared to a previous forecast of 6.7 percent.
The research firm listed Hewlett-Packard as the top vendor in terms of PC shipment and market share, followed by Dell and Lenovo in second and third positions, respectively. HP shipped 15.3 million units and accounted for 18.1 percent of the global PC market, revealed Gartner figures.
The vendor, however, last week announced plans to spin off its PC business. Following the news, which sent ripples across the industry, Gartner's principal analyst Lilian Tay told ZDNet Asia the separation could prove a "viable option".