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How AI integration is revitalizing China’s PC market

Written by Jeff Chay Published on   3 mins read

Lenovo and Huawei lead the pack amid growing demand for artificial intelligence-powered personal computers in China.

Following year-on-year drop-offs in 2022 and 2023, China’s personal computer market is forecast to return to 3% growth in 2024 and 10% growth in 2025. This resurgence coincides with the emergence of artificial intelligence-capable PCs, suggesting that harnessing AI capabilities may be the key to unlocking growth in the world’s biggest market.

According to an industry whitepaper by Lenovo and ID, 54.7% of new PCs sold in China in 2024 will be AI PCs, compared to just 8.1% in 2023. This figure is projected to rise to 84.6% by 2027. This ties into China’s ambitions of cementing its place as a global AI leader, with the country’s AI industry projected to reach a market scale of USD 240 billion by 2035, accounting for 30.6% of the global AI market.

Whereas traditional PCs run standard operating systems without native AI integration, AI PCs come pre-installed with software and operating systems that integrate AI capabilities deeply into the user experience.

With dedicated AI accelerators like neural processing units (NPUs) or GPUs with integrated capabilities for generative AI tools, large language models (LLMs), and advanced AI applications, AI PCs enhance users’ capabilities for productivity, personalization, and power efficiency, driving strong consumer and enterprise demand.

Moreover, as AI PCs generate and process data locally rather than in the cloud, they are capable of addressing various data privacy and security concerns. To this end, major chip manufacturers such as Intel are investing in hardware-level data protection measures like secure enclaves, which help safeguard on-device user data and AI models from tampering or unauthorized access.

As the first movers in China’s AI PC market, with strong domestic brands and ambitious growth targets, Lenovo and Huawei are positioned to be major beneficiaries of rising demand. Lenovo launched China’s first batch of AI PCs in Shanghai in April 2024, while Huawei unveiled its ultra-lightweight MateBook X Pro AI notebook, equipped with an Intel AI processor, that same month.

Major Chinese tech firms like Alibaba, Kingsoft Office, and NetEase are developing localized AI apps and LLMs for AI PCs, while chip vendors like Intel are releasing new AI-optimized chips for the Chinese AI PC market. This enriches the AI PC ecosystem by offering productivity tools, learning apps, and other software tailored for Chinese consumers, complete with software-hardware integration.

Microsoft recently unveiled Copilot+, a new category of Windows PCs designed specifically for AI workloads. In addition to being able to run Microsoft’s Copilot AI assistant locally, these PCs are equipped with unique AI features such as Recall (recording app activity for subsequent review), Cocreate (AI-assisted image creation), live captions with translation, and Windows Studio Effects.

However, Microsoft has explicitly stated that Copilot and, by extension, Copilot+ PCs will not be available in China (excluding the regions of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan), likely due to China’s strict regulations around internet services.

As AI becomes more pervasive, AI PCs are anticipated to become the norm, integrating AI capabilities seamlessly into personal computing devices. Canalys predicts AI PC shipments will surpass 100 million units in 2025, making up 40% of total PC shipments.

This trend is expected to drive premiumization, with Canalys forecasting an initial 10–15% price premium for AI PCs compared to non-AI PCs with similar specifications. The overall value of global PC shipments is projected to grow from USD 225 billion in 2024 to over USD 270 billion in 2028.


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