The worldwide PC market is experiencing a dramatic shift as Washington hardens its scrutiny of Chinese military and technological advances.

According to analyst firm Gartner, global PC shipments have dropped to the worst level in two decades as of the third quarter of 2022. Compared to the same period last year, this has been a 19.5% fall. 

Since sales have been dropping for some time, this quarter marks the fourth consecutive quarter in which they have decreased globally.

Gartner attributes the historic slowdown to multiple factors.

Mikako Kitagawa, the Director Analyst at Gartner, says one of the major problems currently is high inventory as demand drops in both the consumer and business markets. She elaborates that massive promotion generated little effect as people bought new PCs over the last two years. Meanwhile, complicated geopolitical and economic situations also make businesses more cautious about spending. She noted that PCs were not at the top of the priority list for them.

At least, Kitagawa points out that the decline in PC sales may not impact all manufacturers equally. According to Gartner, Acer experienced the greatest year-over-year sales loss of 23.7%, followed by Lenovo at 22.8% and HP at 23.3%. On the other hand, Apple only suffered a decline of 5.8%.

According to Bloomberg, the gloomy statistics came as Washington shook the global computer sector with restrictions aiming at cutting chip and technology exports to China last week. The newly introduced measures may represent the most significant change in American policy toward technology transfers to China since the 1990s.

U.S. officials believe the limits are necessary to stop China from becoming a more significant economic and military threat. 

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration Thea D. Rozman Kendler said China is looking to become a world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. 

If the country achieves its target, Kendler warns that the regime will abuse capabilities to monitor, track, and surveil its citizens and fuel its military modernization.

She declares, “Our actions will protect U.S. national security and foreign policy interests while also sending a clear message that U.S. technological leadership is about values as well as innovation.”

Despite the present turmoil, Canalys senior analyst Ishan Dutt told Bloomberg that the sector may be able to recover by the second half of 2023.

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