Muted Celebration: According to one set of statistics, Lenovo was the world's top PC play in the third quarter. But overall global PC shipments were lower.  Photo: Company

Translated by Andrew Vanburen from a Chinese-language piece in China Enterprise News

BEING KING FOR a day can be exhilarating.

But it can also be very lonely at the top.

Lenovo’s relatively healthy third quarter gave it a global market share of 15.7%, edging out HP for the first time.

But the Chinese firm isn't celebrating the news as might be expected.

According to market research firm Gartner, Lenovo (HK: 992) saw PC orders of 13.7 million in the July-September quarter, up almost 10% year-on-year.

This just beat out US-based Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), which shipped 13.6 million units during the three-month stretch.

Following these latest figures, Lenovo ends up with a 15.7% global market share for the quarter, with HP slipping into second place with a 15.5% share.

However, Palo Alto-based HP says not so fast...

After the Gartner data came out, pushing HP out of the top global position it had enjoyed for six years, the computer company quickly released results from another survey by IDC Worldwide which claimed the California firm was still atop the world rankings at last count.

"While there are a variety of PC share reports in the market, some don’t measure the market in its entirety. The IDC analysis includes the very important workstation segment and therefore is more comprehensive. In that IDC report, HP occupies the No. 1 position in PCs," HP said in a statement on its website.

Lenovo recently 6.26 hkd

According to the IDC report, HP’s market share in the just-completed quarter stood at 15.9%, slightly better than Lenovo’s 15.7% but still clearly demonstrating that the two are running neck-and-neck for global supremacy in the PC space.

The competing data from Lenovo and HP as well as slower overall industry sales was perhaps behind the lack of a celebratory statement from the Beijing-based computer maker.

Given the ongoing sluggish economic recoveries in the US and Europe, as well as slower-than-per-usual GDP figures coming out of Mainland China – the world’s No.2 economy – Lenovo’s muted reaction and decision not to spike to football following Gartner’s findings is perhaps understandable.

Total global PC sales by all brands in the third quarter fell between 8.3% and 8.6% year-on-year, depending on whether one puts faith in Gartner’s numbers or IDC’s.

It would seem that HP’s chief rival is not necessarily Lenovo, with the reverse being true as well.

Instead, both firms should be keeping a watchful and nervous eye on the explosive growth of tablets and other mobile devices from names like Apple.

Gartner went on to say that 100 million tablets would likely be sold in the current calendar year, nearly double the year-earlier figures.

Apple commands 65% of the global market in such products thanks to its highly popular iPad series, with Samsung a distant second at just under 10%.

Meanwhile, Lenovo and HP collectively enjoy a tiny 1.4% of this lucrative and fast-growing global market.

Therefore, it is now a bit clearer why Lenovo has reportedly cancelled a long-planned celebration aimed at marking its first showing as global No.1 in personal computers.

In the PC world, it can indeed be lonely at the top.

See also:

Not All Hong Kong Shares Stuck In Neutral

CANCELLING OUT: Why Hong Kong Shares Stuck In Neutral

BUYER’S MARKET? 12 Consumer Plays Eyeing HK IPOs

SPILLED MILK: China Mengniu In Yet Another Outrageous Scandal 

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