The rate of software piracy in Asia fell to 47 per cent last year, down from 49 per cent in 1998, and well below the 68 per cent figure recorded five years ago, according to a survey released last week by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
Software piracy rates across Asia vary widely, with the region including some of the worst software piracy offenders in the world, BSA said. The total value of software pirated in Asia in 1999 was $US2.79 billion, a slight fall from the $2.95 billion recorded in 1998 and considerably lower than 1997's $3.91 billion, BSA said.
The highest rate of piracy in Asia, and the world, was recorded in Vietnam, where 98 per cent of software in use is estimated to be pirated. Next on the list were China (91 per cent), Indonesia (85 per cent), Pakistan (83 per cent) and Thailand (81 per cent).
The lowest rates in the region were recorded in Japan (31 per cent), New Zealand (31 per cent) and Australia (32 per cent). Because of the size of Japan's software market, estimated piracy losses there were the region's highest at $975.4 million followed by China with $645.5 million.
Some countries have made considerable progress in reducing piracy rates in the last five years, according to BSA. Japan's piracy rate fell from 66 per cent in 1994 to 31 per cent in 1999, and other large drops have been recorded in the Philippines (from 94 per cent in 1994 to 70 per cent in 1999) and South Korea (from 75 per cent down to 50 per cent).
However, China, Vietnam and Thailand in particular have made little progress in curbing software piracy since 1994, according to the report.
BSA estimates software piracy rates by collecting data on how many PCs and software applications are sold in a country.
The ratio of PCs to applications sold is compared with a theoretical average number of applications per PC.
The lower the number of applications actually sold per PC indicates a higher rate of software piracy, according to the BSA methodology.
Country Piracy Rate (1994) Piracy Rate (1999)Japan 66% 31%New Zealand 43% 31%Australia 37% 32%Korea 75% 50%Singapore 61% 51%Taiwan 72% 54%Hong Kong 62% 56%India 79% 61%Philippines 94% 70%Malaysia 82% 71%Thailand 87% 81%Pakistan 95% 83%Indonesia 97% 85%China 97% 91%Vietnam 100% 98%Other Asia-Pacific 96% 71%TOTAL 68% 47%