A GROWING number of Asian companies are poised to emerge as global technology leaders, with their own cutting-edge products and a growing reputation for innovation.
The rise of these new Asian innovators, such as Asus and Lenovo, comes as markets across Asia see explosive demand for computing devices of all kinds, with far-reaching implications for the technology industry and the region.
To understand why these changes are happening, and what they mean, some widely held misconceptions about Asia need to be dispelled.
The first myth is the misperception of Asia as solely a manufacturing location and not a hub of innovation. Asian technology companies have long been the world's factories, producing hundreds of millions of PCs, servers and smartphones each year.
But Asian companies already play an important role in technology R&D and design and engineer many of the products that get sold in the United States and Europe by brand-name companies such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard Co.
The recent introduction of Intel's Ultrabook category of computing devices showcases one example of how Asian companies are helping to drive global technology innovation.
Ultrabooks are a new breed of computer that combine best-in-class performance and improved responsiveness with thin, elegant design.
The first Ultrabook systems started to hit markets in Asia and elsewhere during September, last year.
Also, the first companies to bring Ultrabook systems to market are based in Asia - Acer, Asus, Lenovo and Toshiba.
As the Ultrabook evolves and combines the best capabilities and features of Tablets and personal computers, Asian companies will continue to lead the way forward.
Seventy-five Ultrabook designs are planned for release this year and nearly every one of these systems will be designed and manufactured in Asia - a testament to the region's strategic position at the heart of the innovation and manufacturing supply chain.
The second myth is the misconception that buyers in emerging markets are only interested in buying cheap devices, not high-end products.
Rising income levels and a desire for access to the latest technologies make emerging markets more important than ever.
Buyers in these countries often want the latest and most advanced technology available on the market.
Asia's rising middle class - set to grow from 570 million people to 945 million by 2015 - can increasingly afford to buy the latest and best equipped devices, too.
Consumers are willing to invest in more than the high end of the system price point (SPP) to get a first-hand experience on these new devices.
Then there's the third, and most important, myth that needs to be dispelled.
When it comes to the device that Asian consumers will choose to purchase, they will not choose between buying a portable computing device or a smartphone. Rising incomes enable Asian consumers to own multiple devices.
Also, Asian governments realise the importance of the PC as a tool for learning and improved productivity, and they are actively promoting wider adoption of computing in education and business.
Together, these trends translate into a significant growth opportunity for innovative Asian PC makers. Emerging markets like South-East Asia, China and India, will account for two-thirds of global PC market growth in the coming years.
Companies like Asus and Lenovo are well positioned to capitalise on this demand because of their close proximity to Asian markets and deep insight into local cultures and consumer usage models.
Combined with their focus on product innovation on portable devices, these Asian companies have an opportunity to emerge as global technology leaders.
(Prakash Mallya is country manager of sales and marketing at Intel Malaysia)