A Japanese company has been deluged with thousands of orders for multiple eMacs this week after computer error caused them to be listed on an online shopping site for the knock-down price of £14 a pop.

Catena said it received orders from around 20,000 people for 100 million eMacs, but said it will be unable to fulfill the orders.

The company said a code number assigned to a set of five 8x DVD-R discs, which were the products it was intending to sell, was sent to Yahoo Japan on Wednesday afternoon. However, a product information database matched that code with details for the eMac computer and with the price for the DVD discs. The result was a listing for the computer, part number M9461J/A, at a price of ¥2,787 (around £14) rather than the usual price of over ¥100,000 (over £500).

Yahoo Japan was notified of the problem at 9:15 am on Thursday morning – however, the product did not disappear from the Web site until 11 am, said Catena.

Both companies have posted notices on their Web sites apologizing for the error.

That Catena says it won't fulfill the orders isn't a surprise – but had it done so, it would have catapulted Apple's market share in Japan to around 90 per cent for the year. In October last year IDC estimated around 14.1 million PCs would be sold in Japan during 2004.