Acer aims for Japan, plans low-cost PC

Acer, the world's third largest PC vendor, is taking aim at Japan this year as a key place to grow its booming business.

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Acer, the world's third largest PC vendor, is taking aim at Japan this year as a key place to grow its booming business.

The Taiwanese company plans to extend its business model, of working closely and sharing profits with distributors, to Japan, where companies such as Sony and Toshiba dominate the market, Acer chairman JT Wang has said.

Acer also plans to release new products in the second or third quarter of this year aimed at ultra-mobility and the low-cost segment of the PC market.

An Acer representative declined to provide further details on what kind of devices the company may launch, but local media in Taiwan speculate that Acer is planning an ultra-low cost laptop PC to compete against Asustek Computer's Eee PC laptop.

Asustek created the Eee PC to sell in emerging markets such as China and India. It carries an Intel Celeron processor, weighs less than a kilogramme, has a 7-inch LCD (liquid crystal display) and can connect to the Internet wirelessly. The lowest-priced version costs NT$7,999 (£129).

The Eee PC has garnered so much attention for Asustek, which forecast it will sell 3.8 million of the devices this year, that many of its fellow Taiwanese competitors are developing rival devices. Taiwan's Micro-Star International (MSI) has said it is working on an ultra-low cost notebook that will use an extremely low voltage, low-cost microprocessor from Intel called Diamondville which is due to be unveiled at the Intel Developer Forum in Shanghai this April.

Acer also believes its first quarter sales will be far better than last year, despite global economic worries. Wang told local media that Acer's sales will rise 15% to 20% year-on-year in the first quarter to 31 March.

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