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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Low-Priced PCs, Desktops with LCD a Hit: Nikkei PC Survey
  • February 23, 1999 (TOKYO) — A Feb. 14 survey by Nikkei Personal Computing found that low-priced, space-saving personal computers with liquid-crystal display monitors are hot items in Japan.
    The price survey by the magazine was conducted Feb. 14, when new models of personal computers went on sale at six major computer retailers in Akihabara and Shinjuku districts of Tokyo.

    The survey said that desktop PCs with LCD monitors, desktop PCs which are priced below 150,000 yen (US$1,270), and notebook PCs which are being sold at about 200,000 yen (US$1,690), are popular among buyers.

    Since PC makers cannot keep LCD panels up with demand, there is a shortage of supply of space-saving desktop computers with LCD monitors. Some stores do not even accept advance orders for popular models even though the models have been just put on sale.

    Just as the previous survey conducted on Feb. 7, sales of NEC Corp.’s ValueStar NX R VR33L/6ZD and ValueStar NX R VR33L/65D and IBM Japan Ltd.’s Aptiva 133 (2156-135) and Aptiva 143 (2156-145) are brisk.

    These NEC and IBM Japan models are equipped with 333MHz K6-2 microprocessors as CPU and are priced below 150,000 yen (US$1,270). Models without a display and applications are set at around 130,000 yen (US$1,100) per unit.

    Hitachi Ltd. will market its new models between late February and March. Prices of its current on-the-shelve desktop models have already dropped substantially. Prices for the old models of NEC’s desktop PCs fell by about 20,000 yen (US$170) compared with the previous survey, but stores have almost no inventory of the old models.

    Notebook PCs, “Let’s note/S51E” of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. and VAIO PCG-C1R of Sony Corp., are also on sale. Let’s note/S51E, which carries a 266MHz Pentium II microprocessor, is priced at 298,000 yen (US$2,520) and VAIO PCG-C1R is being sold at 229,800 yen (US$1,940).

    Only two stores still have Sony’s VAIO PCG-777/BP, a hot item in the previous survey, in their inventories.

    Since there is an overall shortage of supplies, Nikkei Personal Computing believes that prices this spring will not fluctuate like before.

    Nikkei Personal Computing predicts that the supply shortage will be worse because a dash of purchases are expected from companies who are waiting for a tax break to go into effect in April. The “PC tax deduction” is applied to companies which buy IT equipment for below 1 million yen. This is likely to prompt companies, which are waiting to take advantage of the tax break, to buy computers in April.

    Shortage of iMac remains acute. Stores are accepting orders, but many do not even know when they can receive shipments. Of the stores surveyed, one still sells the tangerine colored model, which can be taken home, but it’s hard to buy an iMac in February without an advance order.

    The survey also found that prices for PowerBook G3 series models have fallen, with the 530,000 yen (US$4,480) PowerPC G3 carrying a 300 MHz microprocessor losing about 65,000 yen (US$550) and PowerPC G3 equipped with 266MHz or 233MHz falling by about 9,000 yen to 10,000 yen (US$75-85).

    Details of the survey can be found on the price list of PC models in Nikkei Personal Computing’s Web site (in Japanese only).

    Related stories:
    NEC, IBM PCs in Short Supply at PC Shops: Nikkei PC Survey
    Uniform iMac Sales Method Prevails at Stores: Apple Japan Director

    (Nikkei Personal Computing)

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