AOpen took the top spot in Japan’s barebones-PC market in 2004, taking a 37% market share, according to statistics compiled by Japan's Business Computer News (BCN). BCN’s data had Shuttle ranked second with a 21% share, and Asustek rounding out the top three with 15% of the market.
According to market sources, the barebones shipment figures are key indicators for tracking shipments of mini PCs in the Japan market, and AOpen confirmed that a large portion of its barebone shipments were for its XCcube line of mini PCs.
AOpen’s top-selling barebones PC in Japan last year was its XCcube EZ65, which targets the consumer market, and the product continues to sell well in 2005, with BCN ranking it the top-selling barebones PC in Japan for the first week of 2005, accounting for 11% of the market.
Although Japan’s mini-PC market is small, with a total sales volume of about 10,000 units per month, industry sources say it is a key market for mini-PC vendors as margins are higher and customers are more willing to adopt the most recent, more consumer-oriented designs.
AOpen only began selling mini PCs in Japan in the fourth quarter of 2003 but was able to quickly grow its market since it had strong brand recognition in Japan, where it once ranked as the number-one motherboard vendor, stated Tony Yang, marketing director at AOpen.
By the end of 2004, AOpen was shipping about 10,000 mini PCs worldwide per month, and the company aims to triple its shipment this year.
In addition to barebones PCs, AOpen manufactures motherboards, optical disc drives, and other PC components, and ships 10,000-15,000 notebook PCs per month. Last year, its barebones-PC business was its most profitable business.