Companies in this industry produce desktop personal computers (PCs) and portable PCs such as laptops, notebooks, and tablets. Major US companies include Apple, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard (HP); major companies based outside the US include Lenovo (Hong Kong) and Toshiba (Japan), as well as Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision (doing business as Foxconn) and Quanta Computer. Though PC companies in the US are commonly referred to as manufacturers, most PC manufacturing is conducted offshore.
Demand in the PC market is driven by technological advances, disposable income in the consumer market, and corporate spending cycles. The profitability of individual companies depends on supply chain efficiency and ancillary products and services. Large companies have advantages in leveraging extensive marketing budgets and sales channels, securing component discounts, and manufacturing efficiencies. Small companies can compete by offering unique products or localized service and support. The US PC manufacturing industry is highly concentrated: the top 50 companies account for nearly all revenue.
The majority of PCs fall into one of two basic design categories: traditional desktops and portable computers. PCs come in a variety of shapes and sizes and may be customized for specific applications. As computer and communications technologies have advanced, the PC product category has diversified. Manufacturers of portable computers, including laptops (also known as notebooks) and ultramobiles (a category that includes tablets, notebook-tablet hybrids, and super-light clamshell laptops), continue to release slimmer and lighter form factors each year.