Now is the time for corporate reports and market analysis, and two of the latest name Hewlett-Packard (HP) as king of the PC manufacturing market.

HP had 18.8% of global PC unit shipments for 2007, according to results from Q4 of 2007, published by industry analyst firm IDC.

HP’s global unit shipment growth of 30.1% for the year more than doubled the average yearly growth rate of 14.3%.

The report continues that HP grew at a rate of 23.3% year over year for Q4, as compared to the overall global PC market growth rate of 15.5%.

HP has captured a 24.3% market share in the US as shipments grew at a rate of 9.8% in Q4.

Research firm Gartner claims that HP's worldwide market share was 18.2% market share last year, while Dell's share slipped to 14.3% (but the report does add that Dell is going through a major business reorganisation and there were signs of recovery at the end of 2007).

However, Gartner's figures last year showed the two firm's having an almost identical global market share.

But it was Apple that had the strongest sales growth in the US, recording a 28% jump, boosting Apple's share of the market to 6.1%.

Gartner continues that its research revealed that a total of 271.2 million computers were shipped in 2007, which was up 13% on the previous year.

The Asia-Pacific area seems to be the one to watch for 2008 - in particular India and Vietnam - as this region overtook the US last year to become the world's second largest market.

EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) is still number one.

(Chart courtesy Gartner)