The Asia-Pacific IT market, excluding Japan, will rebound strongly this year after its disastrous performance in 1998, but overall sales will still be lower than they were in 1997, according to Dennis Philbin, managing director of IDC Asia-Pacific.
The level of recovery will vary from country to country, and across market sectors, Philbin said. He also pointed out that the Asia-Pacific IT landscape has changed significantly due to last year's market downturn.
"As the market recovers, vendors will find they are dealing with more savvy MIS (management information systems) managers, and must be prepared for more cautious buyers," said Philbin, speaking at the IDC Directions '99 conference held last week in Singapore.
Total Asia-Pacific IT sales in 1998 were down 14.1 per cent to $US41.5 billion from the 1997 figure of $US48.3 billion. However sales, fuelled by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 per cent, will reach $US84.8 billion in 2003, IDC estimates.
Software will show the fastest growth in 1999, with sales increasing by 21 per cent. PC sales, which fell more than 20 per cent across the region last year, will see a 10 per cent rebound, Philbin said.
"Software will make a big comeback this year, with good sales in ERP (enterprise resource planning), e-commerce and supply-chain management systems," he said. "PC shipments will rise rapidly, but unit prices will fall, holding revenues back."
The centre of gravity of the Asia-Pacific IT market has changed considerably due to the eco-nomic downturn, with the previously strong South Korean and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) markets weakening relative to the solid Australian market and the emerging Chinese market, Philbin said. "China and Australia will be an overall $US50 billion market in 2003, out of an Asia-Pacific total of $US85 billion," Philbin said.
Australia currently has the largest IT market in the Asia-Pacific region, but by 2003 China's faster growth will propel its market value to $US30 billion, while Australia's market will be worth just under $US20 billion, according to IDC estimates.
By 2003, India will be the third-largest IT market in Asia-Pacific at around $US8 billion, followed by the markets of South Korea and Taiwan, both of which will be worth just over $US5 billion.
Australia and China neck and neck in IT sales raceAustralia/New Zealand 1997 Market Share (%) 29 1998 Market Share (%) 33 CAGR 1998 +9.4 Greater China 1997 Market Share (%) 27 1998 Market Share (%) 35 CAGR 1998 +21.3South Korea 1997 Market Share (%) 19 1998 Market Share (%) 11 CAGR 1998 +5.1ASEAN 1997 Market Share (%) 17 1998 Market Share (%) 13 CAGR 1998 +11.5Rest of A-P/India 1997 Market Share (%) 8 1998 Market Share (%) 8 CAGR 1998 +24.2 Total Value $US48.3 billion $US41.5 billion* Figures represent overall IT sales (Source: IDC Asia/Pacific, March 1999.)