HP makes gains in Asia

Hewlett-Packard's Asian strategy bears fruit with sterling PC shipment growth in China and India.

SINGAPORE--Hewlett-Packard's PCs and handhelds displayed a strong showing in the Asia-Pacific region this year, with revenues exceeding the previous year by 18.5 percent, according to a senior executive.

Adrian Koch, senior vice president of HP's personal systems group (PSG) in Asia-Pacific and Japan, told ZDNet Asia that the company registered strong growth across all product categories. Unit shipments of HP's portable devices, for instance, grew by 84.5 percent in the third quarter this year. The next highest growth was in workstations, which grew by 55.8 percent in shipments.

Said Koch: "We are gaining market share consistently in all product categories, and became the number one in workstations (in the region), which was an objective we were working towards." According to IDC's Workstation Tracker released in August this year, HP holds the pole position in workstation shipments in the fourth quarter last year, with a market share of 30.7 percent.

He also revealed that HP's strategy to expand its business in Asia's two emerging markets--China and India--has paid off. According to IDC's PC Tracker market figures for the third quarter this year, the PSG grew its unit shipment in India by 74 percent year-on-year, and 91 percent in China, Koch said.

He added that HP's desktop and notebook PC business consistently grew faster than the Asia-Pacific marketplace by more than two times since the third quarter of 2003. According to IDC, the Asia-Pacific PC market posted a year-on-year growth of 18.3 percent in the third quarter this year, whereas HP grew by 46.5 percent during the same period.

Koch attributed the growth of HP in the region to its strategy of designing and manufacturing products unique to the Asian market. This has allowed the company to market its products faster to an Asian audience rather than waiting for a couple of months after a product debuts elsewhere, he said. "In some product categories, we believe it's Asia that's setting the trend for the rest of the world. In the past, products were mainly designed for the U.S. and European markets."

This Asian strategy helped HP grow its consumer business in China from zero in 2003 to around 8 percent of the market now, Koch said. "China is a very proud country, so they are proud of their own products without question. But on the other hand, they like multinational companies [such as HP] that have that local touch," he added.

Koch sees a gradual shift toward laptop computers from desktop PCs next year. "A lot of companies have decided to give their employees laptops rather than desktops, as the [LCD] panel costs have come down over the last 12 months," he said, adding that HP's laptop PC shipments have grown by 74 percent during the same period.

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