Company News

UPDATE 1-Taiwan's Asustek gets order for 1 mln low-cost PCs

TAIPEI, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Taiwan's Asustek Computer 2357.TW said it has received an order for 1 million of its new ultra low-cost computers, helping dispel some market speculation that global PC demand is starting to weaken.

Jonathan Tsang, president of sales and marketing, declined to identify the customer but said it was from an emerging market.

The new line of PCs, or Eee PCs, was announced this year and will cost as little as $199 each for bulk customers.

Tsang said the company, which sells computers under its own brand and makes laptops for major vendors such as Apple Inc AAPL.O and Dell Inc DELL.O, hoped to sell several million Eee PCs next year, following their launch in consumer markets in the United States and Europe over the next few weeks.

“If we can sell a couple million (Eee PCs), we’ll be confident,” Tsang told a small group of reporters at the company’s headquarters on Thursday.

In the United States, the company plans to sell the low-cost laptops through channels such as Best Buy BBY.N and Web-based retailer The company could also start marketing the low-cost computers in China this year or next, Tsang added.

Separately, Tsang said he had not seen recent signs of weakness in the global PC market, despite warnings from some analysts of a possible slowdown.

“Global demand so far looks good in the fourth quarter,” he said.

Tsang also reaffirmed recent company guidance that it was on track to ship 4.2 million of its own branded laptops this year.

The company said last month its 2007 revenue would rise up to 40 percent and hit between $23 billion and $24 billion, up from $17.2 billion last year.

It is expected to garner sales of T$768.92 billion ($23.6 billion) this year, according to the mean forecast from 19 analysts polled by Reuters Estimates.

Asustek's shares closed 0.7 percent lower at T$96.30 on Thursday, underperforming a 0.6 percent rise in the benchmark TAIEX index .TWII.

Its shares have risen 20 percent since the market hit a low in August due to a global equities sell-off, outpacing an 18 percent rise on the TAIEX in the same period.

The Taiwan company, competes with Acer Inc 2353.TW in its own-brand business and electronics maker Hon Hai Precision Industry Co 2317.TW in its contract manufacturing side.

It reported a forecast-beating 91 percent rise in first-half net profit as demand for its products increased. (US$1=T$32.6)