Taiwan's Acer to launch low-cost PCs this year-paper

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan’s Acer Inc, the world’s No. 3 computer vendor, plans to start selling low-cost laptop PCs this year, following a recent strong reception for similar models from competitors, media reported on Wednesday.

A man is seen walking past an Acer advertisement in Taiwan in this August 27, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Nicky Loh

Acer, which previously said it had not planned to sell cheap notebook computers, has changed course to develop PCs to target a new customer base, the Chinese-language Commercial Times quoted company Chairman J.T. Wang as saying.

The company planned to launch the PCs in the second or third quarter of this year, the report said.

It said that Acer was still developing the new model, which could be 7-9 inches wide, and could cost around $470.

Acer declined to comment on the report.

On Wednesday, shares of Acer had risen 2.39 percent to T$49.25 by 0256 GMT, outperforming the benchmark TAIEX index which advanced 0.72 percent.

Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc, a competitor to Acer, launched its line of low-cost Eee PC laptops last year, with a price tag of as little as $200.

Acer said the new computers would not cannibalise its current business, as such models were aimed at low penetration markets such as PCs for children and developing markets, according to the report, echoing similar previous comments from Asustek.

Asustek has so far been successful in marketing and selling its child-friendly Linux-based notebook globally, although profit margins for the products are thin, analysts have said.

Acer competes closely with China’s Lenovo and larger rivals Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

The firm posted a 77 percent surge in its fourth quarter net profit earlier in the week and said it expects to ship 40 percent more notebook PCs this year from 2007, while its overall PC shipments would rise by 30 to 35 percent.