Acer was started by Stan Shih (Chinese: 施振榮), his wife Caroline Yeh, and five others in 1976 as a multi-tech company in Hinchu, Taiwan. The company was started with eleven employees and a capital of US $ 25,000. Initially, it was primarily an electronics distributor and consultant on the use of microprocessor technologies. Before entering the emerging IBM computer compatible market and becoming a significant computer manufacturer, it produced the Micro-Professor MPF-I training kit, and later the Apple II Clone Two-Microprofacer II and III. The company was renamed Acer in 1987.

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In 1998, Acer was reorganized into five teams: the Acer International Services Team, the Acer Sertech Services Team, the Acer Semiconductor Team, the Acer Information Production Team and the Acer Terminal Group. The company terminated its contract business in 2000 and renamed it Wistron Corporation to eliminate client complaints that Acer was competing with its own products and to mitigate the competitive nature of brand marketing against contract product businesses. Restructuring resulted in two primary units: brand sales and contract production. In 2001, the company sold its production units, Benque and Wistron, to focus on design and sales.

Acer increased sales worldwide and at the same time reduced its workforce by identifying and utilizing marketing strategies that better utilized their existing distribution lines. As of 2005, Acer employs 7,800 people worldwide. Revenue rose from $ 4.9 billion in 2003 to $ 11.31 billion in 2006.

Acer’s North American market share fell in the early 2000s and its European market share rose.

In the mid-2000s, consumer notebooks largely contributed to the growth of the computer industry, with Acer’s exceptional low cost and commitment to the channel being a major beneficiary of this trend. Acer grew rapidly in Europe, using more traditional distribution channels targeting retail customers, while some rivals pursued online sales and business customers. In 2007, Acer acquired Gateway in the US and Packard Bell in Europe, becoming the third largest supplier of computers and the second largest provider of notebooks, with significant profit margins. Acer is aiming to become the world’s largest computer retailer, with the goal of increasing the scale of the economy and gaining a higher margin. However, Acer revealed such reliance on the high-volume, low-value computer market when buying habits.

In September 2018, Acer launched its smart gadget unit, Gadget Tech Inc., which produced Leap Beads.

In 2019, Acer announced PLANET9.gg, a sports social platform, which aims to provide sports analysis, community-organized competitions and social experience.

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