China unseated the United States last year as the top market for personal computers due to demand in rural areas where people opt for desktop machines, according to market tracker IHS iSuppli.
PC shipments to China tallied 69 million units in 2012 while 66 million were shipped to the United States, where booming popularity of tablets and smartphones has eaten into sales of laptop or desktop computers, IHS reported.
"China rose to the top of the PC market for the first time ever on an annual basis last year, relegating the United States to second place," IHS said in a PC Dynamics Market Brief.
Unlike other parts of the world where sales of desktop computers have lagged behind those of laptop models, demand in China was evenly split between categories, according to IHS.
"The relatively large percentage of desktop PC shipments in China is due to huge demand in the country's rural areas, which account for a major segment of the country's 1.34 billion citizens," said IHS analyst Peter Lin.
"These consumers tend to prefer the desktop form factor."
IHS predicted the balance to shift in the coming year as competitively-priced laptops gain in popularity and the China market would begin to mirror the global 36 percent to 64 percent 'desktop-to-notebook' ratio.
"The China PC space shares one common trait with the worldwide PC market," IHS said. "Like the rest of the world, demand in China remains weak as consumers migrate to using mobile devices like cellphones."
Explore further: Uber says outside review shows customer data safe, private