Sat, Jan 26, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Half of Asian firms polled see Web 2.0 as vital opportunity

By Felix Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Half of the Asian firms surveyed by market researcher IDC (國際數據資訊) agreed that the so-called "Web 2.0" phenomenon is an important business opportunity.

The survey last month polled 220 enterprises in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, South Korea and Singapore.

Web 2.0 refers to the second generation of Internet applications that involve a user community sharing and contributing resources online. Examples include Web sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Friendster, Second Life and Wikipedia.

Thirty percent of companies polled agreed that the onset of Web 2.0 meant their internal procedures and communications protocols needed to be improved significantly. The firms also said they needed to adjust the way they contacted customers and maintained sales and marketing channels.

However, the survey also found that 50 percent of companies do not allow their employees to use Web 2.0 applications during work hours, viewing them as too much of a distraction.

Twenty percent of workers surveyed admitted to downloading music and movies through these applications in the office. The same number said they used the applications to communicate with clients, while 50 percent of consumers said they communicated with their peers in this way.

Claus Mortensen, principal for IDC's Emerging Technology Advisory Services, was cautious about the impact of Web 2.0.

"Some have predicted Web 2.0 to be the next bubble in the technology sector," he said.

"In any case, aspects of Web 2.0 will change the way companies operate, how they treat their employees and contact clients, as most Asian companies and consumers agree," he said.

In a related analysis, IDC predicts Taiwan's total information technology and telecommunications (ITC) spending will grow by 3.4 percent this year and by 5.3 percent next year. The IT sector alone will see a 1.2 percent decline in spending growth this year, relative to the 3.6 percent growth last year.

The IT sector is split 60-40 between hardware and software, and the declining value in PCs and servers is the main reason for the low spending growth, IDC said.

Taiwan's telecommunications services spending growth, however, will deviate from the worldwide trend of decline, rising 4.7 percent this year and 6. 4 percent next year, IDC said.

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