Internet cafes will help increase China's No 3 PC maker's PC shipment by more than 2 million units this year, the company predicts.
Tsinghua Tongfang Co Ltd, in partnership with microprocessor supplier AMD, will sell PCs to Internet cafes in China. There are roughly 113,800 such hotspots around the country.
"The Internet cafe strategy can greatly push up our shipments in 2006," said Li Jianhang, vice-president and general manager of the computer group of Tongfang.
He said Tongfang's desktop shipment in 2006 will rise by more than 30 per cent, and the notebook shipment will rise by 200 per cent.
According to US-based research firm Gartner, Tongfang had 1.59 million units (desktops and notebooks combined) shipped last year. The 36.6 per cent year-on-year increase helped Tongfang grab 8.2 per cent of the Chinese PC market.
"In 2006, we aim to grab 20 per cent of the branded PC market for Internet cafes in China, and sell 400,000 units to them," said Li.
Tongfang said the Internet cafe's PC market size in China is between 6 million and 10 million units, and these PCs are upgraded every 18 months.
The Jiangsu branch of fixed-line incumbent China Netcom, which runs an Internet cafe chain, has already signed an agreement to buy 15,000 PCs from Tongfang.
Li added Tongfang is also in talks with several other Internet cafe chains.
PCs specifically made for Internet cafes cost between 3,000 yuan (US$375) and 20,000 (US$2,500), depending on customer needs.
The PC market is expected to further expand with the government's call for quality Internet cafes across the country.
Internet cafes in China are controversial; while they provide a place of access for those who do not have their own computers, teens' growing online addiction is often a concern.
The Ministry of Culture unveiled a plan last December to promote the development of the Internet cafe industry in a healthy manner. Promoting branded PC use is part of that plan.
Li Wei, director of the Internet Cafe Industry Promotion Office of the Ministry of Culture, said: "We are working on standards for PCs specifically made for Internet cafes."
The Internet cafe promotion plan also involves five other domestic PC makers.
Last December, Intel's rival AMD announced that Tongfang would adopt AMD chips in nine of its PC models.
(China Daily 04/04/2006 page10)