Several local whitebox builders have cited a surprise upswing in PC purchases with more sales than expected prior to the release of Microsoft's Windows Vista.
With opportunities for local box building becoming increasingly scarce in the final months of 2006, many had predicted a recovery wouldn't occur until after the new operating system was released later this month.
"The market's more buoyant than I thought it would be right now," Plus Corporation managing director, Nigel Fernandes, said. "I really thought there would be a downturn, but it doesn't seem to have happened."
Protac International boss, Gary Jeng, agreed with Fernandes' assessment, although lamented that the whitebox market still remains a shadow of itself from years past and is unlikely to ever return to such halcyon days.
"You just can't compare to 2000-2002, but as far as the last three or four years go, I'm surprised that this year has been quite comparable so far," he said.
Both Jeng and Fernandes said Microsoft's upgrade coupon to Windows Vista had been enough for some users to continue buying PCs at a consumer level. At the corporate level, however, few businesses are immediately shifting to Vista.
Despite the recent sales, Pioneer Computers, managing director, Jeff Li, predicted the whitebox industry would continue to decline.
"The desktop market in Taiwan dropped 30 per cent of its monthly share just before Christmas and the same will happen here," he said. "The channel has relied on desktop PCs for a long time but it can't anymore. This is why we're increasingly moving to notebooks and mini PCs."