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China Tops U.S. As Leading PC Market

El Segundo, Calif. — For the first time in 2012 China outpaced the United States and became No. 1 in the PC market, according to IHS iSuppli.

IHS reported that 69 million PCs were shipped into the Chinese market last year, compared with 66 million into the U.S.

IHS noted several peculiarities with the Chinese market when compared with the rest of the world. The split between desktop and notebook sales was 50-50. Outside of China, only 36 percent of the computers sold are desktops. The research firm said this discrepancy was created by rural Chinese customer’s desire for the desktop format, although by next year notebook sales should outpace desktop.

Rural areas, where most first-time buyers reside, will continue to be an important market as the Chinese government is expected to pour about $6.4 trillion into improving the infrastructure in these areas over the next 10 years, IHS said.

The Chinese market also saw an even split between consumer and commercial computer sales, whereas consumers generally comprise about 65 percent of computer purchases worldwide.

A third difference is that fewer than half of all computers sold in China come with an operating system. Normally 90 percent of computers sold elsewhere are bundled with an OS.