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Lenovo tops PC makers, industry sales decline in quarter

Customers talk to a salesperson about a new laptop at a Lenovo shop in Shanghai February 17, 2011. REUTERS/Aly Song
Customers talk to a salesperson about a new laptop at a Lenovo shop in Shanghai February 17, 2011. REUTERS/Aly Song

(Reuters) - Lenovo Group held on to its position as the world's No. 1 personal computer maker in the latest quarter despite a drastic dip in its core Chinese market, according to figures published by tech research firm Gartner on Wednesday.

Overall, the latest numbers showed an 8.6 percent decline in PC sales in the third quarter, confirming a worldwide trend towards tablets that has benefited Apple Inc and Google Inc but hurt traditional PC stalwarts Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp.

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 80.3 million in the latest three month period, the lowest level since 2008, Gartner said, despite the 'back to school' season when sales traditionally spike.

Europe, Middle East and Africa was the worst hit region, with a 13.7 percent decline in PC sales, followed by Asia Pacific with an 11.2 percent decline. The U.S. market increased 3.5 percent, helped by low inventories being re-stocked and the popularity of models featuring the latest Intel chips, Gartner said.

"Consumers' shift from PCs to tablets for daily content consumption continued to decrease the installed base of PCs both in mature as well as in emerging markets," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "A greater availability of inexpensive Android tablets attracted first-time consumers in emerging markets, and as supplementary devices in mature markets."

Strong sales in the United States and Europe helped Chinese PC maker Lenovo hold onto the top spot among manufacturers, offsetting the decline in Asia.

Lenovo's overall shipments rose 2.8 percent over a year ago to give the company a 17.6 percent share of the global market.

Former No. 1 Hewlett-Packard Co, which is being remodeled by Chief Executive Meg Whitman, posted a 1.5 percent growth in shipments for a 17.1 percent global market share. It was H-P's first positive shipment growth figure since the first quarter of 2012. Whitman said on Wednesday that she expected to stabilize revenues next year as she continues her work to reverse the company's fortunes.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

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