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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Brazil's Big PC Tune-in and Turn-on

Brazil ranked as the fifth-largest PC market last year as bank credit offers, installment plans and growing prosperity fueled purchases, especially among low-income consumers. The shift is a boon to Hewlett-Packard and Dell Inc., the world's top PC makers. A tax break for PC makers has allowed them to cut prices and compete with unregulated sellers whose so-called gray- market machines dominated the market.

``You have a consumer market that's exploding as people have more access to credit,'' said Mario Anseloni, managing director of Hewlett-Packard's Brazil division. ``That's transforming the whole economy.''

Total Brazilian PC shipments rose 38 percent to 10.7 million units last year, according to research firm IDC in Framingham, Massachusetts. That marked the first time that shoppers bought more PCs than television sets in the country. Brazil's PC market, which ranked seventh in 2006, is poised to take third place by 2010, behind the U.S. and China. Japan and the U.K. are now third and fourth, IDC said.

Low-income families, eager for Internet access, are buying PCs at a faster pace than any other group, according to the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee. Spending by Brazilian businesses on software, services and computers rose 12 percent to $20.7 billion last year, IDC said. Brazil accounted for almost half of technology purchases in Latin America. Outlays may rise another 12 percent this year to $23.3 billion, IDC said, compared with 4 percent in the U.S.

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