Taiwan computer maker Acer posts profit in Q1

Acer Inc., the world’s second largest computer vendor, said Thursday its quarterly profit surged 62 percent to 3.3 billion New Taiwan dollars ($105 million) on a rebound of global computer demand.

Total revenue for the January-March quarter grew 36 percent to NT$162 billion ($5 billion) from a year earlier, Acer said.

Shipments of laptops and mini-laptops known as netbooks outpaced desktops and grew 54 percent in the first quarter year-on-year, it said.

The company predicted 15-20 percent growth in world personal computer shipments in 2010, and 30 percent growth in laptops.

Acer President Gianfranco Lanci said the low-priced netbooks are expected to post strong sales for at least the next two years despite Apple Inc.’s unveiling of the iPad.

Consumers may use the tablet computer mainly for reading and entertainment instead of a computing device, he said.

The company said it will introduce four new smartphone models this year to help drive up its profit margins. The announcement came after top PC vendor Hewlett-Packard Co. bought the struggling smartphone maker Palm.

Acer’s business in Europe remained robust even though the weaker euro has generally dampened consumer spending, said company chairman J.T. Wang.

In the past Acer has focused on the European and then the U.S. market, but began an aggressive campaign to enter the Chinese market last July because of rising buying power on the mainland, company officials said.

Wang said the Chinese market is expected to contribute 10 percent to the company’s revenues this year.

“We have designed new products for the Chinese market and launched TV commercials” in addition to setting up sales channels, Wang said.

Associated Press