IBM Tops in Asia Server Market

A new study shows Big Blue is still in the No. 1 position for revenue and shipments, with HP in the second spot

IBM has maintained its No. 1 position in the Asia-Pacific server market, in terms of overall revenue for 2006, according to a new study by Gartner.

Big Blue also took top spot in the fourth quarter and retained its lead in the blade server market in both revenue and shipments. Gartner attributed IBM's strong showing to its 26.2 percent increase in shipments for the quarter and the growing demand for blades in markets like Korea.

Although Hewlett-Packard was in second place based on overall revenue contribution for the year, it held on to its leadership in server volume by growing 3.9 percent annually--which is faster than the total market growth rate, Gartner noted in a statement.

Erica Gadjuli, a principal analyst for servers at Gartner, said: "HP came closer to IBM, the current market leader, in blade server revenue as well as the volume shipped.

"Shifting market demand away from the 1-way server to 2-way and 4-way server platforms was the main reason for revenue growing faster than unit shipments during the quarter," she added.

HP's Integrity server shipments increased to 57.6 percent for the fourth quarter last year, while its revenue growth stayed in the high double digits over the four quarters of 2006, finishing at 87 percent for the whole year.

However, HP's ProLiant brand was affected by the overall slowing down in the x86 server markets, Gartner said.

Ranked third was Sun Microsystems in terms of revenue, posting the most significant growth year-on-year amongst the top five server vendors in the Asia-Pacific server market during the last quarter of 2006, said Gartner. Its server shipment grew by 20.6 percent while revenue grew by 25.8 percent last year.

Dell and Fujitsu servers gained ground in 2006 as both vendors grew their revenue by 10.5 percent and 20.4 percent, respectively. This was driven by aggressive moves in major countries in South Asia, including India and China, said Gartner.

CHINA AND INDIA DOMINATEChina and India accounted for the lion's share of servers shipped in the region, at 57 percent of total volume for 2006. In addition, major countries in the ASEAN sub-region also contributed significantly to shipment unit and revenue growth due to improvements in economic and political stability, according to Gartner.

However, countries including Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong experienced slower growth due to market maturity, Gartner said.

In the fourth quarter of last year, server shipments reached 314,880 units, growing by 1.8 percent over the same period in 2005, while revenue for the same quarter totaled A$2.3 billion (US$1.8 billion), growing by 10.8 percent.

Overall server units shipped in the Asia-Pacific for 2006 totaled 1.23 million units, growing by 12.3 percent. The total industry revenue was A$8.25 billion (US$6.53 billion), posting a 7.3 percent annual growth rate, said Gartner

Gadjuli said: "In the Asia-Pacific region, x86 server shipments in the fourth quarter recorded the slowest year-on-year growth since 2002, [which is] in line with the worldwide market trend."

She added that the "introduction of the quad core x86 processors [seems to be prolonging] the sales cycle, contributing to the softer market at a worldwide level, as well as in Asia-Pacific".