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Foreign firms dominate Slovak computer market

In light of the uncertain economic conditions of 1998, which included an divisive election and losses to the value of the Slovak crown, computer sales did surprisingly well in 1998, according to the editor of PC Revue Magazine, which conducted a survey on PC sales in Slovakia in February and March (see above chart).
According to sales figures provided by computer distributors in Slovakia and estimates derived from the number of computer components sold, between 85,000 and 120,000 PCs were purchased in Slovakia last year, said Martin Drobný, the Editor-in-chief of PC Revue.
Of those, 37,266 were computers carrying trademarks, including 29,797 desktops, 6,145 notebooks and 1,324 PC servers. Between 50,000-80,000 additional computers were sold by small firms who purchase foreign components and then sell computers without an official trademark.


"No-name" distributors may hold 1/2 to 2/3 of the computer market.
photo: Courtesy Corel

In light of the uncertain economic conditions of 1998, which included an divisive election and losses to the value of the Slovak crown, computer sales did surprisingly well in 1998, according to the editor of PC Revue Magazine, which conducted a survey on PC sales in Slovakia in February and March (see above chart).

According to sales figures provided by computer distributors in Slovakia and estimates derived from the number of computer components sold, between 85,000 and 120,000 PCs were purchased in Slovakia last year, said Martin Drobný, the Editor-in-chief of PC Revue.

Of those, 37,266 were computers carrying trademarks, including 29,797 desktops, 6,145 notebooks and 1,324 PC servers. Between 50,000-80,000 additional computers were sold by small firms who purchase foreign components and then sell computers without an official trademark.

In their research, PC Revue sent questionnaires to foreign computer distributors as well the most important domestic computer sellers, most of whom assemble computers from imported components and then sell them under their own brand name in the Slovak Republic.

The research showed the same five firms at the top of the sales charts as in 1997, although some of the firms swapped ranks. Compaq led the field, despite the fact that they sold 1000 computers less than last year. This is explained by last year's reorganisation of Compaq and Digital, Drobný said.

IBM, in second place, sold 1000 computers more than in 1997. Number three distributor Hewlett Packard sold the same number of machines as in the previous year. DTK placed fourth, as it had in 1997, though in 1998 they sold 1,200 fewer machines. In the fifth place was domestic company IMC, which buys their computer components from foreign countries and sells their own computers under the brand name Libra.

The research found that compared to other countries in the region, the Slovak computer market has certain particularities. In Slovakia, there are few strong local firms which are able to take market shares away from the international computer giants, the research found. In the Czech Republic, Hungary or Poland, on the other hand, the first five positions on the sales charts are occupied by strong local companies which are able to successfully compete against foreign brands.

The lack of strong domestic firms in Slovakia is in part compensated for by the presence of small firms which usually sell their machines on a regional basis. These firms often have one or very few employees and might also engage in other types of work, building computers on the side. Though it is difficult to estimate exactly how many "no-name" computers are built and sold in this way, it is a huge market, which appears to be between 50,000 80,000 computers, or from 1/2 and 2/3 of total sales of computer in Slovakia, Drobný said.

According to the research, the major foreign computer companies do most of their business with large production and trade companies, financial institutions, and state administration, Drobný added.

With PC Revueand other press reports

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