"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Friday, July 13, 2007

PC Power slipping East - getting bigger, better, cheaper

Big changes are happening in the notebook / laptop PC market , totally dominated by Far East manufacturers, which presages the first tectonic shifts in major chip suppliers and trends in OS design and future PC markets.

Hon Hai Precision Industries (who own FoxConn) were mentioned here in April as they have been looking to expand their production into Vietnam - where it was noted that Compal Electronics Inc, the world’s second-largest laptop contract manufacturer, (customers include Dell, Compaq, HP, Fujitsu-Siemens) and a major mobile phone manufacturer have been considering a US$2- 2.5 Billion investment in the northern province of Vinh Phuc since early last year.

Now it appears that further consolidation of notebook / laptop PC manufacturing is taking place and Hon Hai who commenced PC manufacturing in 2004 are to merge with Quanta the world's largest manufacturer (they claim 33% of the glbal market under almost all brands available) - which as they are both big users of AMD microprocerssors must surely be boost for them and bad news for Intel. (The Chairmen of both companies are also very good friends)

Lord Patel's spies report that Taipai based Hon Hai (with massive investements on the Chinese mainland) have agreed /signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Quanta Computer Inc where 51 year old president Michael Wang (co founder in 1988) has just mysteriously departed - or even gone on a long holiday / sabbatical... leaving evrthing in the hands of his co-founders Barry Lam, chairman, who as reassigned responsibility for manufacturing to C.C. Leung, another co-founder and vice-chairman.

Hon Hai, said to be the world's largest electronic component manufacturers have worked Quanta for many years and are major suppliers of LCD screens for their lap tops.

There were rumours in December of a tie up which were denied but this time it seems to be a done deal.

Quanta are designers and manufacturers for the US$100 - One Laptop per Child Project (OLPC) with an initial order for 1 million units announced in February this year (made in Changshu, China) - and prospects of 10 million within 2 years. For more information on this Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) inspired project to develop a US$100 US$175 laptop — a technology that could revolutionize how we educate the world's children, (go to to their website.) ...and of course a nascent market for PC users in the next decade which the Dells, HP's Apples might well have some difficulty in breaking into.

Craig Barrett, Intel's chairman, who said, "I think a more realistic title should be 'the $100 gadget'" back in December '05 when Advanced Micro Devices was chosen as the processor supplier is no great supporter of this project and Bill Gates, no less slammed it at the World Economic Forum in Davos in February this year - but then they had refused an offer of a free Windows OS (open source version of Windows CE) and plumped for Linux.... But OLPC announced a US$3 Windows OS would be available to run on the machine.... maybe. MS had announced "Windows for the Poor" ...

The Student Innovation Suite will feature Windows XP Starter Edition, Office Home and Student, Microsoft Math 3.0, Learning Essentials 2.0 for Office and Windows Live Mail, and will be available in selected countries where governments pay for students' PCs in the second half of the year. The suite will be extended in 2008 to countries defined as low or middle income by the World Bank.
Will Hon Hai be assembling even more notebooks / laptops in Vietnam ?

Take note what Lord Patel reported about Hoya the Japanese company that makes 80% of the glass disks that are used in 80% of the world's hard disks ..

“We choose Vietnam to transfer our high-value added lenses bases and laboratories globally here for the country’s attractive business environment and a good supply of well-educated workers." said Gerald Bottero, president and CEO of Hoya Vision Care ... which is a remark that people in the UK seeking inward investment might consider carefully.
As Lord Adonis the unelected twat who is responsible for the state of UK education who can simultaneously say UK education is improving when 20% of children at 11 are funtionally innumerate should take note of.But he fucking won't.

PS. Toshiba launched their AMD powered Satellite series laptops in June - they dropped AMD in 200 amid claims in an AMD lawsuit against Intel that Toshiba had received a "very substantial" payment from Intel.

Like other PC vendors, Toshiba was receiving "market development funds" from Intel worth about $25 million to $30 million per quarter and those would have been jeopardized if it used AMD chips, the lawsuit alleged. The case between AMD and Intel continues.

This week AMD reported major price cuts (up to 20%) on its range of microprocessors - eg Athlon 64 X2 6000+, which runs at 3GHz, fell to $178 from $241 and its AMD 64 X2 5600+, to $157 from $505, according to its latest price list.

Trade gossip says Intel will be announcing price cuts on July 22nd.

PPSThe Swiss-based chip maker ST Microelectronics (The result of the 1987 merger of SGS Microelettronica of Italy and Thomson Semiconducteurs of France net revenues of US$9.85 billion - 2006 ) is shutting 3 plants for 6 inch wafer manufacture ,Carrollton, Texas, an 8 inch fab in Phoenix Arizona,plus a plant in Ain Sebaa, Morocco. It has already shifted most of its 6 inch production to Singapore (ST was the 3rd biggest semiconductor supplier in China in 2005.) ....4,000 soon to be ex-employees,will be offered transfers or “transition-based incentives”.

ST still has wafer plants in Agrate Brianza (Italy), Catania (Italy), Crolles (France), and Rousset (France) - they are the world’s leading supplier of ICs for TV set-top boxes (STBs), and has shipped a cumulative total of more than 400 million MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 decoder chips – used worldwide in STBs, digital television sets (DTV) and DVD players... more profitable than microprocessors and is well placed to meet the growing demands for satellite and cable TV growth in India and China.

For those interested this chart compares the stock market performance of AMD with ST over the last 12 months.

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