This Week in Imaging: China Mandating Chinese-Brand PCs, Printers Likely Too

According to Bloomberg this week, the Chinese government has directed government agencies and state-run companies to dump foreign-brand PCs and replace them with with Chinese brands within two years.

That could lead to the replacement of some 50 million PCs.

According to IDC, the leading PC maker in the Asia Pacific regions was Lenovo, which has about 30 percent share, with HP Inc. at 14.3 percent share, followed by Dell with 14.1 percent share. Lenovo is said to have about a 40-percent share in China. 

What does this have to do with the print industry? First, HP Inc. would of course be affected, since it sells PCs.

Second, it’s not a stretch to imagine that printers and MFPs, as a key piece of technology in the office, would be the next target.

Indeed, about 10 years ago, the Chinese government announced it was seeking to replace all technology as much as possible with Chinese brands. The main reason is said to be reduce reliance on foreign brands, particularly American brands, but of course, the transfer would greatly benefit Chinese brands.

That would have been hard at the time when it came to printers. Although China is a major manufacturer of printers, it’s been primarily manufacturing for foreign brands, such as HP, Canon, Ricoh, etc.

That also changed about 10 years ago with Pantum Electronics, which was the first China-brand printer maker. Other recent Chinese brands to enter the printer market are Lenovo, and Xiamoi. And of course, there’s also Lexmark International, which was acquired by Ninestar Corporation and Chinese investors.

Which brings us to our opinion that Lexmark in fact would likely be the big winner among printer brands with this because its printers and MFPs  are far more advanced than Chinese brands currently are. Lexmark models offers workflow solution add-ons and much more advanced manageability. They also also offer much higher monthly volumes, faster print speeds, optional document finishing, and of course, Lexmark has decades more experience with print. It would likely take some time for other brands to catch up.

In sum, if China replaces foreign PCs, it’s likely also got printers in its sights, which could lead to the loss of a key market for the document-imaging industry. We can’t know of course, but we bet that it’s probably already preferring Lexmark, Pantum, and Lenovo printers over foreign brands.

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