China's market for new printers was worth more than $320m in the first three months of this year, according to new market research.
Printer sales in the country were up 4.1 per cent compared to the same period last year, reported Beijing-based consultancy Analysys International.
The numbers do not include consumables such as paper, toner and ink which provide between a half and two thirds of printer market revenues.
Almost 2.1 million printers were shipped in China during the quarter, a year-on-year increase of 3.4 per cent. The first quarter is normally the slowest of the year.
Hobbled by a lack of up-to-date laser or inkjet technology, local Chinese firms have no significant presence in the printer market, although they do profit from consumables such as third-party inkjet cartridges.
China's largest PC vendor, Lenovo, is reportedly exploring ways of entering the market, most likely by buying a smaller foreign printer maker.
Industry and government remain the country's biggest printing customers. Less than a quarter of printer sales in China are for personal use, according to research published last at the end of last year by Analysys.
China's printer market is growing fast, and the laser segment alone is expected to exceed $5bn by 2010, according to predictions for sales of hardware, toner and paper from Lyra Research.
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