Hon Hai Precision has secured an additional NT$16 billion in orders from Apple and Gateway, reports the China Post.

According to The Post, most Taiwanese computer hardware manufacturers have reported a rise in second quarter sales, reflecting more optimistic economic and PC industry forecasts. Three quarters of the world's notebook production is based in Taiwan, the report claims.

The China Post predicts that the growth of notebook shipments will outpace that of desktops. Users will switch to notebooks because computing power is now comparable to that of desktop computers, notebook graphics have improved and the Internet can be browsed wirelessly.

The Post adds that Apple has seen notebook computer sales increase dramatically over the last twelve months. Apple's notebooks accounted for one third of its sales in 2002's second quarter and 46 per cent in the second quarter 2003.

Inventec Group vice chairman, Saying Wen, predicts that notebooks in the future will be characterized by greater performance, smaller size, longer battery life and wireless connectivity to the Internet.

He said: "Notebooks will have a speed greater than 10GHz and will include multimedia processing capabilities, 3D displays and more user-friendly features. In addition, mobility and built-in cameras will be a main feature in every PC to allow instant transmission of multimedia content."

Industry analysts expect shipments of Taiwan's top five notebook manufacturers to rise 15 to 20 per cent during the current quarter.

This follows last week's improved PC market forecast from analyst firm IDC. IDC cites increased notebook sales and slight corporate recovery for its improved outlook.