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  • Japan PC Shipments from April-June Fall 14 Pct.
  • August 12, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Personal computer shipments in Japan in the first quarter of fiscal 1998 (April-June) fell 14 percent to 1,473,000 units over the same period a year ago.
    According to the Japan Electronics Industry Development Association (JEIDA), the value amounted to 335.3 billion yen (US$2.3 billion), a 24 percent decline.

    Both the number of units and amounts marked a sharp decline from the same period last fiscal year.

    This is the first time since the third quarter of fiscal 1992 (October-December) that Japan's PC shipments declined by more than 10 percent from the previous fiscal year.

    On the basis of composition, desktop PCs, including servers, recorded a sharp year-on-year decline of 27 percent to 744,000 units.

    Notebook PCs maintained the same growth level as the previous fiscal year, recording an increase of 7 percent to 729,000 units.

    In monetary terms, desktop PCs registered a 32 percent drop to 169.8 billion yen (US$1.16 billion) and notebook PCs fell 23 percent to 165.5 billion yen (US$1.14 billion).

    The decline of notebook type PCs in yen terms was caused by falling average PC prices. The average price of notebook PCs declined to 227,000 yen (US$1,550) from 278,000 yen (US$1,900) in the April to June period of 1997.

    The price desktop type PC also declined to 228,000 yen (US$1,560) from 243,000 yen (US$1,660). PCs on the whole declined by 29,000 yen to 228,000 yen.

    The ratio of desktop and notebook PCs to total shipments is 51 percent and 49 percent, respectively. In fiscal 1997, the ratio was 60 percent and 40 percent.

    The ratio of notebook PCs grew over the year, because manufacturers are becoming aware of saving space and because the mobile computing market expanded rapidly.

    As to total shipments, combined with exports, the number of units shipped declined by 20 percent to 1,592,000 units. In monetary terms, it declined by 21 percent to 560.5 billion yen (US$3.83 billion) from the same period a year ago. In terms of exports alone, the number of PCs exported declined by 59 percent to 119,000 units. In monetary terms, it also declined by 59 percent to 24.9 billion yen (US$170 million).

    JEIDA estimates that total Japan PC shipments for fiscal 1998 will be in the range of 7.2 million units. It also estimates the same level of shipments as in the previous fiscal year in the first half and a 5 percent increase in the latter half.

    Tetsuya Mizoguchi, senior vice president of Toshiba Corp. and chairman of JEIDA's Personal Computer Promotion Committee, said that he has no intention of revising the original target, although he admits the first half indicates a tough situation.

    Initially, PC makers did not expect effects from the launch of Windows 98. However, since its launch, the consumer PC market has become brisk.

    "We had a hard time in this period (April-June), but we are having good days since the launch of Windows 98," said Takashi Unno, senior manager of NEC Corp.'s Personal C&C; Customer Communications Division.

    "Retail sales in the latter part of July showed a strong growth of nearly five-fold compared with the same period a year ago," added Masataka Kimura, marketing department manager at Hitachi Ltd.'s Information Media Systems Group.

    The corporate market showed no signs of recovery due to the increasing trend of businesses to either hold back or postpone investments in information technology. As to the corporate market, Mizoguchi said that it depends heavily on the coming economic policy of the government.

    (BizTech Editorial Dept.)

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    Updated: Tue Aug 11 18:05:14 1998 PDT