Report: China could surpass U.S. as top PC market

China could already be the largest personal computer market in the world, surpassing the United States, based on research from the IDC.

For the first time in history, China has likely surpassed the United States as the top market for personal computers in the world.

The keyword in there is "likely," as this information is based on research that won't be completed until the year is out.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Bryan Ma, an analyst at the global research firm IDC, said based on a full-year basis, China will likely pass the U.S. in 2012.

Given that China is the most populated country on Earth, some analysts saw this coming. Toshihiro Nagahama, chief economist at the Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, explained to Bloomberg that "this was going to happen sooner or later, just like with the car market, and the time has come."

Specifically, Ma pointed towards 14 percent rise in PC shipments in China during the second quarter, totaling 18.5 million units, which in itself is the first time that figure was higher than than the shipment count in the United States. For reference, U.S. shipments fell to 17.7 million units.

Although there is definitely potential for China to become the largest PC market in the world, these figures are far from conclusive just yet.

There is the possibility that these numbers could be overly optimistic, and there are other factors to account for still. For instance, U.S. shipments could see an increase (even if it's slight) during the third quarter thanks to back-to-school shopping, and how could we ever forget about the holiday season in the fourth quarter.

On the contrary, it's not much of a surprise to see U.S. numbers slip up here as consumer technology continues to bleed companies dry. After all, Hewlett-Packard's sudden shift in focus away from its webOS collection and possibly its PC unit altogether could be foreshadowing a major change in the U.S. PC market altogether.