A shortage of batteries and other components could hurt smaller computer vendors, although the top ten vendors are unlikely to be unaffected, the world's largest contract laptop manufacturer said Tuesday.

Taiwan's Quanta Computer forecasts that the supply of lithium-ion batteries for laptops will remain strained for the next few months, following a fire at a battery factory belonging to South Korea's LG Chem in March. Production at the affected factory is slated to begin again in a few months.

Demand for laptops is booming, but Quanta believes the ten biggest computer vendors will make it through the current battery scare unscathed. The company forecasts it will produce 40 million notebooks this year for major customers including Apple. The 2008 target is higher than the 32 million laptops the company shipped last year.

"Big customers won't have problems because they're the first to be served by suppliers," said C.C. Leung, vice chairman and president of Quanta, at a news conference in Kuei Shan, Taiwan.

Over 70 per cent of Quanta's laptops are made for the top 10 computer vendors, while the remaining 30 per cent go to smaller companies.

Materials used in PC and laptop casings are also becoming scarce, and may remain so for longer than the current battery shortage, Quanta said