Asustek: to continue netbook focus as tablets grow

TAIPEI, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Taiwan's Asustek Computer Inc 2357.TW will stick to its core netbook PC products, it said on Wednesday, even as the rising popularity of tablet PCs sparked by Apple Inc's AAPL.O iPad threatens to cut into netbook sales.

The company expects sales of netbooks will be flat this year, but revenue will rise as it brings more high-end products to the market. Like most of its rivals, however, it is also joining the tablet market with its own model.

“Different clients have different demand, we still see potential in the netbook market,” said Kevin Lin, a general manager of Asustek, at a netbook launch event.

Asustek targets sales of 6 million netbooks this year, giving it around a 20 percent global market share. It said last month it shipped 6 million units in 2010, and expects a double-digit market share for its non-Apple platform tablet PC [ID:nTOE6BE04R].

“This is the right strategy for Asustek because the netbook is a sizeable market and it is not going to disappear,” said Tracy Tsai, an analyst of Gartner Research.

She said many consumers own more than two computer devices nowadays and Asustek could not forgo the netbook market for tablets.

Asustek said it will launch its first tablet model for Taiwan, using Google's GOOG.L Android 3.0 platform, as early as March.

The company has already started selling larger-sized tablet PCs in the U.S. and Europe. (Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Jonathan Standing)