Acer aims to cap­ture 15pc of tablet PC mar­ket in 2011

The Pak Banker - - Company& -

NEW YORK: Acer Inc. said it's aim­ing to cap­ture 15 per­cent of global tablet-com­puter sales next year, chal­leng­ing Re­search In Mo­tion Ltd. and Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics Co. for sec­ond place in a mar­ket dom­i­nated by Ap­ple Inc.' s iPad.

Ship­ments will be­gin next quar­ter as the Taipei-based per­sonal-com­puter maker jumps into a mar­ket where global ship­ments may reach 50 mil­lion units in 2011, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Gian­franco Lanci said yes­ter­day in an in­ter­view in Chongqing, China.

Lanci's pro­jec­tions in­di­cate Acer, the top maker of low-end lap­tops known as net­books, may sell more than twice the num­ber of tablets JPMor­gan Chase & Co. es­ti­mated last month. The push high­lights the in­ten­si­fy­ing com­pe­ti­tion to be­come No. 2 in the fastest-grow­ing seg­ment of the com­puter in­dus­try as com­pa­nies from RIM to Sam­sung bat­tle to of­fer the most pop­u­lar al­ter­na­tive to the iPad.

"The com­pany has talked ag­gres­sively about the tablet mar­ket but Ap­ple is still very dom­i­nat­ing," said Steven Tseng, an an­a­lyst at RBS Asia Ltd. "Aside from price it's hard to tell what Acer has in their prod­ucts to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves and out­per­form. If they make cheap mod­els like in the net­book area, they may have suc­cess. They're re­ally good at vol­ume busi­ness."

Still, Tseng rates Acer shares "hold," partly on con­cern that new tablet prod­ucts may not be able to make up for de­clin­ing sales of net­book com­put­ers.

Acer rose 1.6 per­cent to NT$93.90 at 9:41 a.m. in Taipei trad­ing, lim­it­ing this year's drop to 2.3 per­cent.

Acer last month un­veiled a lineup of three tablet com­put­ers-two de­vices based on Google Inc.'s An­droid op­er­at­ing sys­tem and one on Mi­crosoft Corp.'s Win­dows soft­ware.

The tablets may be priced be­tween $299 and $599, depend­ing on con­fig­u­ra­tion, screen size and con­nec­tiv­ity, Lanci said. The iPad is priced be­tween $499 and $829 in the U.S. "There is com­pe­ti­tion and we are set to com­pete," Lanci said. "We have strength in de­sign­ing and de­vel­op­ing prod­uct. We have strength in terms of chan­nel. We have strength, prob­a­bly more than other peo­ple, in emerg­ing mar­kets."

Tablets bridge the gap be­tween lap­tops and smart­phones such as RIM's Black­Berry and Ap­ple's iPhone. Ap­ple, which showed the ap­peal of such de­vices by sell­ing 3 mil­lion iPads in the first 80 days af­ter the prod­uct de­buted in April, ac­counted for 95 per­cent of the tablet mar­ket last quar­ter, ac­cord­ing to Strat­egy An­a­lyt­ics.

Ap­ple Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Steve Jobs in Oc­to­ber said that de­vices such as the Play­Book are "dead on ar­rival" be­cause they are too small to com­pete with the iPad, which has a 9.7-inch screen.

Lanci dis­missed Jobs' com­ment, say­ing there is room for both sizes.

" It de­pends on user needs," Lanci said. "While a 10-inch tablet is a very good so­lu­tion at home or in the of­fice, seven inches can be a very good so­lu­tion for peo­ple trav­el­ing or with dif­fer­ent needs, even re­plac­ing ebooks."

Acer will start de­liv­er­ing its tablets in the first quar­ter from ex­ist­ing plants in and around Shang­hai, Lanci said. Pro­duc­tion of the de­vices may shift to a plant in Chongqing, which is part of the $150 mil­lion in­vest­ment in the city that Acer and the mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment agreed on yes­ter­day, Lanci said. The new fa­cil­ity will start op­er­a­tions in the third quar­ter, he said. -Bloomberg

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