TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- Taiwanese contract computer makers are expected to equal last year's production of 110 million laptops in 2009, but earn as much as 5 percent less in total revenues, a market research organization said Tuesday.
Total revenue for the contract makers reached an estimated $57.3 billion in 2008, the semiofficial Institute for Information Industry said in a report.
However, it said, the figure could drop between 3-5 percent this year as makers cut prices because of the global economic downturn.
Taiwanese contract makers produce 90 percent of the world's laptops.
They produce laptops for leading foreign makers, such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Sony and Toshiba, as well as Taiwanese computer firms including Acer Inc. The makers use their extensive assembly lines in mainland China to cut production costs.
"It will be a tough year for the Taiwanese contract makers," said Wei Chuan-chian, an analyst with the institute. "Computer firms from Japan to the U.S. have turned conservative amid the recession."
The Taiwanese companies will strive to further cut costs or improve their technological expertise, Wei said.
Quanta Computer Inc., the world's largest contract laptop maker, is expected to churn out more computers for industrial use as its customized products render higher profit margins, Wei said.
In addition to the standard laptops, the makers will also produce the low-cost laptops, known as netbooks, to keep their assembly lines busy, he said.
The institute's figures do not take netbooks into account.
Total netbook output is expected to reach 22 million this year, double the 2008 total, the institute predicted.
With relative scant memory, netbooks are built largely to access the Internet or allow users to check e-mails.