By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
November 10, 2011

Chinese consumers rate Macs as most desirable, although only 7% can afford one

In August, according to IDC, China overtook the U.S. as the world’s largest consumer of personal computers.

On Wednesday, Morgan Stanley issued the results of a survey suggesting that Apple (AAPL) is the best positioned of all PC manufacturers to capitalize on the boom.

Summarizing the results of a proprietary Alphawise survey of 1,553 consumers in 16 Chinese cities, Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty reports:

  • Chinese consumers currently spend an average of $600 for their computers (same as Americans)
  • Half plan to buy a new computer within the next two years, and they expect to spend 6% more for it
  • They rate Apple as the most desirable PC brand, well ahead of other international and domestic PC makers — including Beijing-based Lenovo
  • Asked which brand of computer their next PC would be, 21% of Chinese consumer chose Apple
  • Only 7% say they are willing to spend more than $1,000 for a computer, but as the Chinese consumers grow more affluent, writes Huberty, that should change

Based on the survey results, the biggest winners and losers in the Chinese consumer market are:

Loser: Lenovo. 31% own a Lenovo PC, but only 23% plan to buy another.
Winner: Apple. 5% currently own, 21% hope to buy one
Winner: Hewlett-Packard (HPQ). 11% own, 13% hope to buy
Neutral: Dell (DELL). Holding steady at 6%

The enterprise market in China is a different story. There the survey results favor Dell and Apple, while indicating trouble ahead for HP. See the chart below.

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