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Chinese maker Lenovo appears poised to topple Hewlett-Packard as the world’s No. 1 personal computer brand by the beginning of 2013. Figures published late last week by market research firm Gartner showed Lenovo with 14.7 percent of the global market in Q2, just behind H-P on 14.9 percent.

 

This followed a decline of 12 percent in H-P’s shipments during the quarter, according to Gartner. Not much over a year ago, Lenovo was the No 4 maker worldwide, but it overtook Acer in mid year, then passed Dell in the third quarter of 2011 to nail down second spot, which it has hung onto ever since.

Dell meanwhile has slumped to fourth place. According to Gartner, H-P shipped 13.06 million PCs in Q2, followed by Lenovo (12.8 million), Acer (9.64 million) and Dell (9.35 million). The figures include netbooks but not tablets such as the iPad.

“If the current trends for both companies continue, Lenovo should surpass H-P in Q3 or Q4,” Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT, told Computerworld. “On its face, it might not mean much to the industry. But Lenovo taking the top spot would be a huge boost for China’s IT industry as proof they can play and win in the global big leagues.”

Part of H-P’s problem has been uncertainty surrounding its future plans in the wake of continued top-level upheavals. In August last year, the company announced that it was considering spinning off the company’s PC manufacturing business. While that plan was later dumped, the uncertainty certainly stuck, and sales have suffered ever since.

Some analysts also point to another advantage enjoyed by Lenovo in that it does most of its own manufacturing and design, while H-P – like Apple and a number of other leading vendors – outsources production, and sometimes design, to Chinese or Taiwan factories like FoxConn. This means it can usually get new products to market quicker.

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