IDC: Asia to drive 2002 IT recovery

The Asian region will be the fastest-growing IT market this year as the global IT industry begins a slow recovery from a calamitous 2001, according to Kirk Campbell, chief executive officer of market analyst International Data Corp. (IDC).

Speaking at IDC's Asia-Pacific IT forum here Monday, Campbell said the region will see a number of IT and telecommunications records being achieved, including:

-- the number of mobile phone users will pass 300 million, about 30 percent of the world total.

-- the number of Internet users will reach 120 million, about 20 percent of the world total.

-- the total amount spent on IT products and services will reach US$75 billion, 10 percent more than in 2001.

-- electronic commerce will account for $75 billion worth of goods and services being traded online.

From 10 percent this year, overall Asia IT spending growth will rise sharply to 22 percent in 2003, IDC said.

Services will be the healthiest IT sector, followed by software, while hardware will remain the weakest sector in Asia and worldwide, according to Campbell.

"Worldwide hardware spending will still fall until the third quarter of 2002 and will only make a full recovery in 2003," he said. "Although unit sales will grow, there will be significant price reductions."

Much of Asia's spending growth is due to extraordinary demand in China, far and away the region's largest market. Campbell said that IT spending in China will grow by around 25 percent each year for the next 10 years, by which time China will be the world's third-largest IT market after the U.S. and Japan.

China's IT market will overtake Italy's in size this year, France's in 2007, and Germany's and the U.K.'s in 2009 to take third place, Campbell said.

IDC is a subsidiary of International Data Group Inc., the parent company of IDG News Service.