Acer Inc, the world's fourth-largest computer maker, is diversifying in its latest effort to get its struggling personal computer (PC) business back on the road to sustained recovery.
Acer needs to differentiate its business model and distinguish its products to consumers, says chief executive Jason Chen.
Smart internet-connected and cloud computing capabilities will be delivered as value-creating differentiation on top of Acer's computers, corporate president and chief executive Jason Chen said in Bangkok yesterday.
Global shipments of PCs are down by double digits this year as consumers increasingly switch to mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.
Among the top PC makers, Acer has been hurting the most due to its past focus on consumer notebooks. The company has reported regularly quarterly net losses as PC shipments decline.
"We will go beyond a traditional PC maker by diversifying into mobility devices including smartphones, tablets and wearable digital devices in order to serve changing consumers' lifestyles," said Mr Chen.
He said the Chromebook notebook, which runs the browser-based Chrome operating system from Google, will be a bright spot as it is growing quickly even as overall PC sales continue to drop.
Global research firm NPD forecasts sales of Chromebook will reach 5.2 million this year, a jump of 76% from last year. The market is expected to top 17 million units by 2018.
Acer's Chromebook sales surged by 114% in the first half of this year.
Mr Chen said the two-in-one notebook, which transformed the clamshell notebook to tablet functions, was another bright spot for the computer industry.
He said new products of Acer will be equipped with advanced technologies and software that support cloud computing and internet-connected devices.
"To survive in the PC business, we need to differentiate our business model and distinguish our products to consumers," said Mr Chen.
Acer returned to profit in the first half of 2014. The company reported consolidated revenue of US$5.28 billion globally.
Sales of Acer's PCs increased by 14% in the second quarter compared with the same period last year. The company had a 7.9% share, maintaining its No.4 spot in the global market.
Acer faced an operating loss of US$380 million in 2013.
Harry Yang, managing director of Acer Computer, said sales of smartphones in Thailand were the highest in Southeast Asia.
Acer aims for its market share for notebooks in Thailand to rise to 38% this year, up from 32% in the second quarter.