IT firms venturing across the border [Bangkok Post, Thailand :: ]
(Bangkok Post (Thailand) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 14--Local information technology (IT) companies are expanding into neighbouring countries to offset the falling domestic market as political strife continues, says the Association of Thai ICT Industry (ATCI).
Global research firm IDC Thailand, meanwhile, has revised down its forecast for information and communications technology (ICT) spending growth to 6.8% to US$22.3 billion this year, down from 7.2% to $22.4 billion due to the country's political instability.
President Adirak Patitus said the ATCI put the country's ICT spending growth at 5% in the first quarter.
He said companies in Thailand, particularly in telecoms and banking, are freezing new IT investment projects, pending a clearer picture of the political conflict.
To offset shrinking domestic demand, Mr Adirak said local IT firms are seeking new market opportunities in Myanmar and Indochina as well as to serve the arrival of the Asean Economic Community in late 2015.
The ATCI is working with its members to penetrate Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
"We chose Myanmar as the first market because the country is preparing to roll out 3G services, boosting demand for telecom and IT equipment," said Mr Adirak.
The ATCI is Thailand's first professional association. Members include computer hardware and software manufacturers, distributors and service providers, representing more than 80% of Thailand's ICT market.
Since opening up its economy, the IT market in Myanmar has grown by 10-20%. However, the country's computer penetration remains low.
As of December 2012, the number of desktop computer users totalled 400,000 while there are an estimated 600,000 notebook users.
Myanmar has 564 IT companies, 70% of which are hardware-related businesses, 20% provide IT services and 10% are software firms.
Mr Adirak suggested local IT firms focus on the high-potential applications market including cloud-based services.
The ATCI in collaboration with the Myanmar Computer Industry Association, Myanmar Computer Federation, Myanmar Computer Professionals Association and Myanmar Computer Enthusiasts Association will hold a seminar on business networking in July in Yangon.
(c)2014 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand)
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