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China's Lenovo claims top spot for consumer PCs

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Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group said Thursday it had become the global leader in consumer and notebook personal computers, as sales surged despite a weakening in the PC market. 

A Lenovo shop is seen at a computer mall in Beijing, in 2011. Lenovo Group said on Thursday it had become the global market leader in consumer and notebook personal computers, as it posted a 13 percent rise in second-quarter net profit.

"Lenovo became the worldwide number one consumer and notebook PC company in fiscal quarter two and remained as the largest PC company in emerging markets, including China," the company told the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Its share of the overall PC market, including corporate sales, reached a record high of 15.6 percent in the July-September quarter, it added, putting it just 0.2 percent shy of leader Hewlett-Packard.

Lenovo has been outperforming rivals such as US-based HP and Dell, with a rise in PC shipments of 10 percent in the second quarter to the end of September compared to a year earlier despite softening global demand.

Worldwide PC shipments have been declining as consumer habits change and more people connect to the Internet through smartphones and tablets instead of cumbersome personal computers and laptops.

However, a survey by research firm Gartner released last month gave Lenovo 15.7 percent of the overall PC market, ahead of HP with 15.5 percent.

Gartner said Dell was the number three maker with a 10.5 percent global market share followed by Taiwan's Acer with 9.8 percent and Asus, another Taiwan firm, with 7.3 percent.

A separate report showed global sales of personal computers are set to show a decline for the first time in 11 years.

The survey by IHS iSuppli said the total PC market in 2012 was expected to contract 1.2 percent to 348.7 million units, down from 352.8 million in 2011.

That would be the first drop since 2001, but sales have been sluggish for the past two years.

IHS said a strong rebound could still occur in 2013, with more adoption of Windows 8 computers and newer, thinner notebook computers gaining track.

Lenovo said net profit for the three months to the end of September rose 13 percent to $162.1 million from $143.9 million a year earlier. Revenue climbed 11 percent to $8.67 billion from $7.79 billion a year earlier.

"Lenovo grew in spite of challenges in the worldwide PC market impacted by the weakening macro environment and product transition," it said.

The company's shares closed down 2.66 percent at HK$6.58 in Hong Kong, while the benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 2.41 percent, as investors digested Lenovo's slowest rate of profit growth in more than two years.

Lenovo chief executive Yang Yuanqing conceded that the PC market was tough for everybody.

"Definitely, the PC market is impacted by the macro-economy," he told reporters, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

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