The Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) PC market saw sales reach 21.7 million units in 2002, 8.6 per cent higher than in 2001, according to figures released by Gartner's Dataquest unit.
This comfortably outstripped the 3 per cent growth of the worldwide PC market in 2002.
PC sales were helped by strong demand in China, easily the region's biggest PC market which now accounts for 42.9 per cent of all PC sales. PC shipments in China grew 8.7 per cent in 2002 to 9.29 million units. The next three largest markets are South Korea, Australia and India, which each topped the 2 million unit sales mark, according to Dataquest figures.
India was the fastest-growing major PC market, with sales rising by 11.8 per cent over 2001, and the country now seems poised to overtake Australia as the region's third-biggest PC market.
Smaller markets showed very different fortunes: PC sales in Thailand rose 39.8 per cent over a weak 2001 performance, with strong growth also evident in Malaysia (15.8 per cent) New Zealand (14.5 per cent) and Taiwan (12.4 per cent).
But PC sales in Hong Kong fell 4 per cent compared to 2001, with Singapore also showing a slight sales decline, and South Korea only posting growth of 0.6 per cent, Dataquest said.
China's Legend Group extended its lead as the largest PC vendor in the region, lifting sales by 7.1 per cent in 2002 compared to a 3 per cent sales rise for its nearest rival Hewlett-Packard (HP). IBM remained the third-largest vendor, although that position is threatened by Dell Computer whose sales grew 23 per cent during the year compared to IBM's 6.1 per cent growth.
Dell is putting a strong emphasis on growing in the China market while maintaining its stronghold on countries such as Australia, Malaysia and Singapore, Dataquest said.