Poverty and Development Division
last updated : 20 December 1999
THE SITUATION IN THE ASIAN AND PACIFIC REGION
In 1997, the worldwide market for ICT amounted to $1.8 trillion, or approximately 6 per cent of world GDP, 40 per cent greater than in 1992.5 It grew by about 27 per cent per annum between 1992 and 1997, more than five times the rate of global economic growth. The bulk of this growth was investment in telecommunications (figure IV.2). In the period 1992-1997, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe registered the fastest growth in ICT spending, averaging 15, 14 and 10 per cent respectively. In absolute terms, North America, Western Europe and Japan continued to dominate. Asia and the Pacific and Latin America achieved the highest records in terms of cumulative average growth rate over this period. Figure IV.3 shows ICT spending in 1997 by region in absolute terms, as well as the compound annual growth rate.
Figure IV.2. Worldwide ICT spending
Source: World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) / International Data Corporation (IDC), Digital Planet: The Global Information Economy, vol. 1 (October 1998), p. 2
The number of Internet hosts and personal computers has been growing rapidly, reaching 25 and 120 million respectively worldwide; the former rose twentyfold and the latter threefold between 1992 and 1997. Within the ESCAP region, the diffusion of ICT has been increasing rapidly.6 Table IV.1 presents information on investment in telecommunications, the number of main telephone lines, cellular telephone subscriptions, Internet hosts and the number of personal computers relative to population for individual ESCAP countries.7 While the table shows that many countries in the region have been investing significantly in ICT, the relatively large populations in some countries, such as the members of ASEAN, and China, India and the Republic of Korea, can obscure the actual intensity of their efforts.
The information in table IV.1 is summarized in figure IV.4. The trends in ICT developments in the ESCAP region are measured by cross-country weighted averages for the selected indicators per 100 persons, except for telephones (per 10 persons) and the Internet (per 1,000 persons). Figure IV.4 shows that for the region as a whole the most rapid growth in the 1990s has been in computers and cellular telephones, with a rapid increase in Internet connections taking place only since 1994. The degree of diffusion in the developing countries of the ESCAP region shows a somewhat different trend, with the number of telephones rising over the whole period, rapid growth in the 1990s in the number of computers, rapid growth since 1994 in the number of cellular telephones, but very little change in the number of Internet connections. As can be seen from figure IV.5, the members of ASEAN and the NIEs8 accounted for a large share of the investment in ICT in the developing countries of the ESCAP region until 1992, after which the diffusion became much more widely spread.
Figure IV.3. ICT spending by region in 1997
Source: World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) / International Data Corporation (IDC), Digital Planet: The Global Information Economy, vol. 1 (October 1998), p. 5
Figure IV.4 ICT diffusion in the ESCAP region
(a) All ESCAP members/associate members
(b) ESCAP developing countries
Source: International Telecommunication Union, Statistical Yearbook, 1994 (Geneva, 1995) and Asia-Pacific Telecommunication Indicators, 1997: New Telecommunication Operators (Geneva, 1997)
Figure IV.5 Investment in telecommunications by the developing countries in the ESCAP region
Source: Compiled from data in ITU, Statistical Yearbook, 1994 (Geneva, 1995) and Asia-Pacific Telecommunication Indicators, 1997: New Telecommunication Operators (Geneva, 1997).
Source: Information supplied by ITU, November 1998
5 World Information Technology and Services Alliance/International Data Corporation, Digital Planet: The Global Information Economy, vol. 1 (October 1998), p. 1.
6 ITU, Statistical Yearbook 1994 (Geneva, 1995) and Asia-Pacific Telecommunication Indicators: New Telecommunication Operators 1997 (Geneva, 1997).
7 Since ICT permeates almost every aspect of economic and social life, it is extremely difficult to measure its degree of diffusion quantitatively. These indicators have been selected with the assistance of ITU and are based on the plausibility and availability of the data.
8 This grouping includes Brunei Darussalam; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Myanmar; Philippines; Republic of Korea; Singapore; Taiwan Province of China; Thailand; and Viet Nam.
Please contact the webmaster with questions or comments about this web site.
For any queries concerning the substantive content of the page, please contact PDD homepage.