New gadgets set stage at Taiwan tech show, but clouds loom

* Tablet computers, e-books, 3D games in spotlight

* Euro zone, China tightening clouds outlook

By Baker Li

TAIPEI, May 28 (BestGrowthStock) – Technology companies feeling the
pinch from Europe’s debt crisis could face a tough sell when
industry buyers gather in Taipei to examine the latest
whizz-bang features at the world’s No.2 computer fair.

Some major exporters in Asia including Sony Corp (6758.T: )
and Asustek Computer Inc (2357.TW: ) have recently told similar
tales of woe about the weak euro [ID:nTOE64D00K]
[ID:nTOE64C06Q], which threatens to hurt PC sales in the
sector’s typical second-half uptick.

Another worry is China’s move to put the brakes on an
economy that grew 11.9 percent in the first quarter.
[ID:nTOE63D091] [ID:nN14141613]

At present, the technology sector is not a target but
analysts worry that any further credit tightening may
eventually hurt demand, and China may restrict loans to parts
makers, which supply the China-based factories owned by Taiwan
companies.

“That could be a double blow,” said Yuanta Securities
analyst Vincent Chen, referring to Europe and China, which
together take about half of Taiwan’s total exports. “There
should be a lot of design-ins at the show but we are not sure
if there will be a lot of orders for them.”

The mood in Taiwan is a good benchmark for the global PC
industry as the island’s contract makers work for the world’s
top brands such as Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N: ), Dell Inc
(DELL.O: ) and Apple Inc (Read more about Apple stock future.) (AAPL.O: ), and make most of the world’s
laptop computers.

Yuanta said it cut its 2010 and 2011 forecasts for global
personal computer shipments by 3 percent and 2.3 percent,
respectively, to 336 million units and 370 million units, but
they were still higher than 306 million PCs shipped in 2009.

TABLET VOGUE

At this year’s Computex, which runs from June 1-5, one of
the much-hyped products would be portable tablet computers as
hardware makers hope to take advantage of the buzz surrounding
Apple’s newly launched iPad.

The iPad hit overseas store shelves on Friday, with buyers
storming Japanese and Australian shops to be among the first
outside the United States to snap up the long-awaited tablet
PC.

At Apple’s flagship store in Tokyo’s Ginza shopping
district, about 1,200 people formed a line that stretched some
800 metres. [ID:nTOE64Q08O]

Acer Inc (2353.TW: ), Micro-Star International Co (MSI)
(2377.TW: ), Asustek Computer and China’s Hanwang Technology Co
(002362.SZ: ) are set to showcase their own tablet designs and
electronic reading devices, or e-books.

These tablets, with bright LCD touchscreens, longer battery
lives and wireless connectivity, will share the stage with a
line of high-end all-in-one desktops and sleek laptops that
allow users wearing special shutter glasses to play 3D games.

“There are some noises about Europe but we still expect to
see a good third quarter after we launch new products,” said
MSI Chairman Joseph Hsu, whose company produces PCs and
motherboards.

Technology demand typically picks up in the third quarter
with back-to-school demand and pre-Christmas buying.

Taipei’s organisers said a total of 1,715 exhibitors,
including foreign technology heavyweights such as Microsoft
Corp (MSFT.O: ), Intel Corp (INTC.O: ), Advanced Micro Devices Inc
(AMD.N: ) and Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O: ), would attend the PC show this
year, slightly more than last year.

Some of them will be promoting new processors that power
laptops and other high-tech gadgets using ultra high-speed
WiMax technology.

Stock Investing

(Editing by Chris Lewis and Valerie Lee)

New gadgets set stage at Taiwan tech show, but clouds loom