Tue, Oct 21, 2003 - Page 10 News List

MIC optimistic about IT

ROBUST GROWTH The Market Intelligence Center has said that it expects the nation's computer and related industries to achieve healthy production rates this year

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nation's information and communications industries are expected to enjoy a robust 15 percent growth in production value this year compared to a year ago and the growth strength will extend into next year, a government-funded research house said yesterday.

Local information and communications hardware makers are expected to ship about US$55 billion worth of products this year, a 14.6-percent jump from the US$47.8 billion recorded last year, said Victor Tsan (詹文男), managing director of the Market Intelligence Center (MIC, 市場情報中心) in a quarterly report.

"An improved global economy and PC replacement are two major drivers for the strong growth," Tsan said.

According to the report, an estimated 146 million units out of the 600 million desktop computers worldwide are expected to be replaced by new models, or laptops, this year.

The shipment of notebook computers in the third quarter jumped 22.4 percent from the previous quarter to about US$4.19 million worth of laptops, the MIC said. The output of desktop computers reached US$2.10 billion, up 26.2 percent, it added.

Tsan's confidence in the global demand for hardware products stems from recoveries by local manufacturers in the third quarter, the nation's increased exports and the MIC's survey during the past three months ending last month.

"The third-quarter growth is very encouraging," Tsan said.

Nearly 85 percent of 166 information technology companies surveyed by the MIC last month said they believe the global economy is improving and prospects for the IT sector would continue gaining steam from the current quarter to the first quarter of next year, the report said.

A similar MIC survey taken during the last quarter found 70 percent of respondents upbeat about the information and communications industries.

"A faster pace of PC replacement will also drive up demand for PC-related peripherals such as liquid crystal display [LCD] panels and motherboards," Tsan said.

He predicted the stronger demand will help boost local PC makers' global market share from 61 percent this year to 65 percent next year.

The nation's exports rose 11.6 percent last month from the previous year to US$12.56 billion as electronics makers shipped more components to their Chinese factories as spending picks up in the US, Japan and China.

Sharp demand for laptops last quarter has also boosted the demand of LCD panels, said Annabelle Hsu (徐美雯), a senior display analyst with the MIC.

"The demand for flat panels has outpaced the supply during the past quarters," Hsu said. "We expected the short supply will continue to extend to next year particularly if LCD-TVs start to boom at the time most analysts expect."

Laptop computers and consumer electronics such as handsets and digital cameras are among the fast-growing items in the current quarter, the MIC report showed.

"Handsets equipped with color-screens, built-in cameras, or those enabling MMS [multi-media messaging service] are starting to replace the low-end mobile phones," which mostly enable voice service, said Al Yang (楊中傑), an MIC research director.

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