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PC market to renew expansion in next 2-3 years, says Lenovo chair
Aaron Lee, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES

The global PC market scale is expected to expand in the next 2-3 years as demand for notebooks and other PCs enabling work from home will continue to sustain momentum for a long while after the pandemic eases, according to Lenovo chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing.

Yang expressed the optimism at a conference held to release Lenovo's 2019 financial statements. The company registered revenues of US$50.7 billion for the year, with net earnings surging 12% on year to US$665 million.

Yang stressed Lenovo's PC shipments continued growing in 2019 despite the US-China trade rows and CPU shortages, and growth rates for all types of PC including slim notebooks, Chromebooks, gaming models and workstations were all higher than market averages, allowing the company to firmly retain its position as the world's largest PC vendor with a global market share of 23.7%.

Yang said his firm's PC production was disrupted after the Chinese New Year holiday due to the coronavirus outbreak, but its supply chain partners have gradually resumed normal operations since the start of March. Even its handset production lines in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, have resumed 100% capacity utilization since the end of the month.

Optimistic about PC shipment prospect, Yang said remote work and learning spurred by lockdowns will not be a short-lived phenomenon but will become a long-term trend. He stressed that demand for PCs, servers and storage devices will turn strong due to pandemic-induced changes to human life.

Yang's optimism serves as a positive message for the PC market that has been trending downward for years. Digitimes Research statistics show global notebook shipments had declined all the way to 158 million units in 2019 after peaking at 204 million in 2011.

But supply chain players have shown mixed views about how long the pandemic-induced demand for notebooks and other PCs will last. Martin Wong, president Compal Electronics - a Lenovo ODM partner - has said that demand for commercial notebooks will persist into 2021, but Quanta Computer and Wistron have both reported relatively low order visibility for the second half of 2020.

Notebook components suppliers are even more conservative about their shipment prospects. Some said brand clients have softened their order placements since May, and some noted they have been told to slow down materials stocking starting in the third quarter to avoid high inventory levels.

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