PC sales in the Asia-Pacific market were 20 per cent lower in value in the first quarter of 1998 compared to the same period in 1997, according to the latest Dataquest research.
Australia, which Dataquest estimates to be Asia-Pacific's biggest PC market, saw an increase in the number of systems sold, but a slight drop in revenue because of falling prices.
The 20 per cent drop in value represents lost sales of $US710 million, as lower-unit sales were compounded by a falling average purchase price, according to Bruce McCabe, senior industry analyst for Dataquest's Personal Computers Asia-Pacific program.
"The impact of the Asian economic crisis was even more dramatic than in preceding quarters as government IT spending cuts began to bite and buying patterns shifted to lower-cost systems," he said.
Full recovery of IT markets in the region is expected to take at least two years, according to Dataquest.
In the first quarter of 1998, the 10 largest Asia-Pacific countries by PC sales posted revenues of $US2.8 billion in the first quarter of 1998, compared to 1997's first quarter figure of $US3.5 billion.
China continued to post the strongest performance, with first quarter PC shipments up 56 per cent and revenue up 21 per cent on last year.
Meanwhile, the South Korean PC market, Asia-Pacific's largest market in the first quarter last year, reported a precipitous revenue drop of 46 per cent, and was largely responsible for the region's poor overall figures, Dataquest said.
Troubled Southeast Asian markets also saw steep declines in their sales, with Malaysia's PC revenues down 55 per cent, Thailand's down 62 per cent, and Indonesia's down 82 per cent. Even relatively robust economies such as Taiwan and Hong Kong saw a reduction in PC revenues, Dataquest said.