updated 07:45 pm EDT, Tue August 23, 2011
IDC has China just edging US in PC share
New IDC research showed that China has just managed to outgrow the US to become the world's largest PC market. The US will hold on to the lead for all of 2011, but China this spring just pushed past the US to claim 22 percent of all PCs shipped, 18.5 million, to the 21 percent (17.7 million) going to Americans. In the long term, researches saw China getting 21.8 percent for all of 2012 where the US would slip to 19.6 percent.
The catch-up in the populous but poorer country may have come from government plans. Its 12th Five Year Plan was encouraging very large companies at the heart of China's foundations to keep spending at a time when the US was still struggling. China was also working to improve technology in poorer cities where the US was much more saturated and has less room to grow.
China did face problems as it was fighting to control inflation and minimize the ripple effect from problems created in the US. It was still enough of a sign that developing countries were getting enough momentum to outperform countries where individuals were wealthier but had less need to buy in.
The shift is likely to heavily favor China-native companies such as Lenovo and Hanvon that are already established in the country and know how to appeal to an audience with a lower income and different needs than in Europe or North America. American companies focusing on premium hardware may have an advantage, however. Apple is already making more money than Lenovo by a wide margin despite prices that mostly limit it to the upper-middle class and above in China.