Brisk consumer demand for Microsoft Corp's Windows Vista operating system, which has been on sale in Hong Kong since February 3, is providing a welcome boost to local retailers' seasonally slow first-quarter sales of personal computer hardware and software, the company said. 'Some retail shops have told us that they have been selling 30 times more than what they usually sell, especially during the launch weekend on February 3 and 4. Some even said that their sales were comparable to high-selling holiday seasons like Christmas,' said Adam Anger, the director of Microsoft Hong Kong's business marketing organisation, without elaborating. Healthy demand was also recorded by some branches of convenience store Circle K during the Lunar New Year break, Microsoft said. A tie-up between the two companies has put Vista on Circle K's shelves. Convenience Retail Asia, a unit of the Li & Fung Retailing Group, is selling limited numbers of Vista and Microsoft's Office software at its 250 stores in Hong Kong. 'We see Vista on sale at Circle K stores as an opportunity to expand the customer base of both companies,' Mr Anger said. Computer system builders in Hong Kong received 30 per cent more orders over the past few weekends, he said. Hewlett-Packard, for example, counted on an immediate trend to adopt Vista. The company was the first personal computer manufacturer to sell Vista-based personal computers across its consumer and business product portfolios from January 30. 'HP has collaborated closely with Microsoft for more than five years to deliver the industry's broadest and most complete Windows Vista portfolio,' said Adrian Koch, the senior vice-president for the personal systems group at HP Asia-Pacific and Japan. Bryan Ma, associate director of Asia-Pacific personal systems research at International Data Corp (IDC), said it was still too early to tell how much impact Vista would have on first-quarter computer sales in the region. IDC projected deployment of 90 million Vista units worldwide this year.