Another example of why China's PC market differs from trends in the rest of the world is the proportion of consumer versus consumer PCs, IHS said. In China, the ratio of consumer to commercial PCs in 2012 was roughly 50-50, compared with the 65-35 percent ratio in the rest of the world, IHS said.
Another unique characteristic of China's PC market is that the preferred notebook display size in China is 14 inches. Such notebooks account for 70 percent of notebook PC shipments in China, IHS said. For the rest of the world, the 14-inch makes up less than 30 percent, IHS said.
PCs with pre-installed operating systems make up less than 50 percent of China's PC shipments, IHS said. IN the rest of the world, such systems make up more than 90 percent of systems shipped, the firm said.
China's PC market does shares one common trait with the worldwide PC market, IHS said. Like the rest of the world, demand in China remains weak as consumers migrate to using mobile devices like cellphones. China’s PC market is projected to grow only by 3 to 4 percent this year, IHS said.
But IHS said a vast market opportunity continues to exist for PCs in China in the form of potential first-time buyers, most of whom live in the countryside. China's central government plans this year to invest some 40 trillion yuan—equivalent to some $6.4 trillion—to build rural infrastructure in the next 10 years, IHS said. PC OEMS can take advantage of the initiative to build out and expand from the cities, the firm said.
China is on track to retain its position as the largest PC market in the world for the foreseeable future unchallenged and alone, according to IHS.
The reason that most PCs in China are shipped with no pre-installed OS is that computer stores, many of which are small businesses rather than big-box stores, install pirated copies of Windows on them. Linux has nothing to do with it. I don't think anyone in China uses Linux except for some techies.
I recall a Microsoft exec saying that they make more money in Vietnam than they do in China.
If I were to hazard a guess as to why no OSes installed in such a large protportion of PC sales, I'd suggest a combination of bootleg copy of Windows the owner has access to, and perhaps use of Linux. But honestly, the bootleg copy of Windows seems the obvious reason.
I agree with the article that most likely, in the future, laptop/notebook form factors will gain over the desktop. Desktops are more interesting if you want flexibility in peripherals, though, and the lowest price for the most performance, so they are probably more appealing to first-time buyers. Eventually, people aren't so concerned about what they might want in the future, as they gain experience in having this PC.
Me, I still prefer desktops for their flexibility. But that argument will probably become less and less valid as desktops lose market share and the market for adapter cards loses steam. Just a guess.
Desktops cost less. Remember that the incomes in rural areas make a PC purchase a major item.
No OS is simple. China is a one copy country and people are not buying software. I am surprised they are not all using a Linux variant at this point.
It would be useful to understand the motivations behind the numbers. Why so many desktops, and so many with no pre-installed OS, and why such small notebook screens? Is it just cost, or are there other factors?
I am surprised by the spread in the percentages of pre-installed OS PCs shipped vs no installed OSes. I wonder what is driving that factor? I do think that China is poised to take off in the personnel PC markets space as evidenced by the spread in personal vs corporate PC purchase numbers. I would expect that as the infrastructure expands and the costs continue to be driven down by the sheer volumes that more personal purchases will start to drive the market. Are there other factors involved that I am not aware of??
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.