The world of PCs has a new champion. Probably.

Chinese computer makers Lenovo have replaced Hewlett-Packard as the world's largest PC producer.

Researchers at Garner said Lenovo marginally outsold HP in the last three months, shipping 13,770,000 computers (15.7%) versus 13,550,000 (15.5%).

Lenovo's renewed focus on industrial design coupled with aggressive pricing has seen it leap above its rivals. The researchers said it was the only PC maker to have increased its shipments to the US.

Gartner's list had Dell in third with 9.22 million (10.5%), followed by Acer (8.63m) and Asus (6.38m).

Overall growth slowed ahead of the launch of Windows 8, which many consumers and businesses are waiting for before placing new orders.

"A continuing slowdown in consumer PC shipments played a big part in the overall PC market decline," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "The third quarter was also a transitional quarter before Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system release, so shipments were less vigorous as vendors and their channel partners liquidated inventory."

But according to other figures, HP might not have fallen from its perch yet.

Another firm, IDC, said HP had shipped 13.9m computers versus 13.8m by Lenovo.

Both are estimates based on tracking of third-party sales, manufacturers reports and other data.

"PCs are going through a severe slump," said Jay Chou, senior research analyst, Worldwide PC Tracker. "The industry had already weathered a rough second quarter, and now the third quarter was even worse.

"A weak global economy as well as questions about PC market saturation and delayed replacement cycles are certainly a factor, but the hard question of what is the 'it' product for PCs remain unanswered. While ultrabook prices have come down a little, there are still some significant challenges that will greet Windows 8 in the coming quarter."