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Domestic shipments and exports of personal computers by Japan’s 23 major PC makers dropped for the first time since 1992, totaling 3.97 million units in the first half of the 1997 business year that ended Sept. 30, an industry group announced Thursday.

Due to the consumption tax hike and sluggish sales of desktop PCs, domestic shipments and exports fell 8 percent in the half-year period from the previous year, the Japan Electronic Industry Development Association reported. However, buoyed by the sales of peripherals, total shipments and exports amounted to 1.39 trillion yen, up 5 percent from the previous year.

Domestic shipments of PCs declined 1 percent to 3.36 million units from a year ago. Shipments of portable PCs posted a sharp increase, 27 percent, as corporate customers showed a preference for notebook PCs over desktops in line with the steady reduction in size afforded by recent technological gains, JEIDA officials said.

As more PC manufacturers move their production bases overseas, the nation’s exports of PCs have been declining, the industry said. Total exports dropped 34 percent to 607,000 units in the first half of the current business year.

JEIDA also announced that it has revised its previous estimate of domestic PC shipments for the current business year downward from 8.8 million to 7.5 million units.

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