China to produce 98 million computers

China expects to produce 98 million desktop and laptop computers in 2006, mostly for overseas markets, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

Of the output forecast for this year, China aims to export 58 million computers, or 59% of the total, the Xinhua news agency said, citing the Ministry of Information Industry.

China’s official top home appliance maker Haier has entered the computer market with a new laptop.

Other computer manufacturers are also promoting new models including Asus, which has launched a computer that can receive television broadcasts.

However, huge Chinese exports have forced computer makers to cut their prices to remain competitive. Dell launched its low-cost laptop computers that cost between 5,999 yuan (746 U.S. dollars) to 6,999 yuan (871 U.S. dollars), while other big computer firms, including Acer and HP, have also cut computer prices to 5,999 yuan.

The average export price for a desktop last year stood at $617, down from $644 at the end of 2004, Xinhua said, citing the ministry of Information Industry.

The Chinese computer industry’s foray overseas is led by the nation’s largest computer maker Lenovo, which stunned the world when it bought US icon IBM’s personal computing division last year.

Statistics showed that laptop computers are increasing their market shares. In 2005, China produced 80.84 million computers, of which 45.65 million where laptops, a net increase of 18.15 million from 2004.