China Passes U.S. As Largest PC Market

In yet another sign of China’s growing influence economically, the Asian giant surpassed the U.S. to become the largest market in the world for personal computers.

China’s PC sales reached $11.9 billion, while U.S. PC sales fell behind to $11.7 billion in the second quarter of the year.

“This was going to happen sooner or later, just like with the car market, and the time has come,” Toshihiro Nagahama, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute Inc. in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News.

“China has a huge population and their income is rising.”

While it may have been inevitable, it still poses a problem for the U.S. China is emerging as a major consumer market with a growing middle class that has newfound purchasing power, which could lead U.S. computer companies to outsource more and more jobs to the Asian market.

Jobs and technologies are certain to follow.

The news is also another blow to the collective American psyche. In recent years, China has been passing the U.S. in one important category after another. In other important economic indicators, it is only a matter of time until China passes the U.S.

While it will be at least a decade before China passes the U.S. in economic output in real dollar terms, it could pass America in purchasing-power parity – a measure of goods and services a nation’s currency buys at home – by as soon as 2012.

In 2009, America accounted for 19.9 percent of the world’s 8.6 trillion manufacturing output, amounting to 1.7 trillion worth of goods. China was hot on America’s heels. Beijing was responsible for 18.6 percent of the world’s manufacturing output and 1.6 trillion worth of goods.

This year, China is also set to become the world’s leader in patent filings, a sign of the nation’s growing technological prowess. Sitting at third right now, China’s patent filings are outpacing those in Japan and the U.S., so much so that by this time next year, China should be considered the world’s leader in innovation.

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