APAC software piracy rate climbs to 62 percent

APAC software piracy rate climbs to 62 percent

Summary: Number of unlicensed software installations inched up to 62 percent last year compared to 60 percent in 2011, and led to lost commercial value worth US$21.04 billion in the Asia-Pacific, reveals latest BSA piracy survey.

TOPICS: Software, Piracy, Asean, China

Software piracy in the Asia-Pacific region has climbed to 62 percent as employees remain oblivious about what is installed in their systems, according to Business Software Alliance (BSA).

The region's 2013 piracy rate was the highest among other regions worldwide and also led to the highest commercial value of unlicensed installations at US$21 billion, revealed the latest global piracy survey by BSA. Conducted once every two years by research firm IDC, the BSA Global Software Survey 2013 polled more than 24,000 consumer and enterprise users, including 2,000 IT managers, across 110 economies, including Singapore, China, South Korea, United States, and Australia.

Compared to 60 percent in 2011, 62 percent of Asia-Pacific respondents in 2013 had unlicensed software installed in their computers. Within the region, Bangladesh clocked the highest piracy rate of 87 percent, followed by Pakistan at 85 percent, Indonesia at 84 percent, Sri Lanka at 83 percent, and Vietnam at 81 percent.

Japan enjoyed the lowest piracy rate at 19 percent, followed by New Zealand at 20 percent, Australia at 21 percent, Singapore at 32 percent, and Taiwan at 38 percent. In the region, piracy numbers generally dropped across the board, with China seeing a 3-point dip from 77 percent in 2011, as well as India from 63 percent to 60 percent. 

However, in terms of commercial value of unlicensed software, China clocked the highest loss at US$8.76 billion, followed by India at US$2.91 billion, Indonesia at US$1.46 billion, Japan at US$1.34 billion, and Thailand at US$869 million. Across the Asia-Pacific region, over US$21.04 billion in commercial value was lost to unlicensed software installations, BSA said.  

APAC piracy

Security risks appeared to be a major deterrent for using unlicensed software. Globally, 64 percent of respondents cited concerns about unauthorized access by hackers as a major risk associated with unlicensed software, while 59 percent cited data loss. 

However, less than half were confident their company's software was properly licensed, while 35 percent said their companies had stipulated policies mandating the use of licensed software. 

The survey findings highlighted the importance of software management in the enterprise environment, BSA said. "Most people don't know what is installed on their systems. That needs to change," BSA's president and CEO, Victoria Espinel, said in the report.

The association's Asia-Pacific senior director of compliance programs, Roland Chan, noted a "disturbing disconnect" between awareness of the risks associated with using unlicensed software and actual steps taken to resolve the problem. 

"Users realize that unlicensed software can introduce malware and leave them vulnerable to hacker intrusion and data  loss, yet, many fail to do anything to protect themselves or their organizations. Given that the global cybersecurity threat environment has been worsening, this lack of attention to software compliance is deeply worrying," Chan said. 

Across the globe, the average piracy rate stood at 43 percent in 2013, inching up slightly from 42 percent in 2011. Good news is the commercial value of unlicensed PC software installations clocked at US$62.7 billion last year, down from US$63.45 billion in 2011. 

Topics: Software, Piracy, Asean, China


Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 16 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings.

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  • BSA funded by corrupted Microsoft

    Microsoft is full of patent abusing and corruption and should give its software for free to compensate our stolen money:

    "Without investigating the real needs, the Slovak ministry of finance has recently been keen on quickly signing a new, more expensive licensing contract with Microsoft, which looked like it had been written by a private company."

    "Microsoft bribery probe enters Russia, Pakistan"

    "Redmond company bribed resellers in China, Romania and Italy.
    Jiří Pavelec
    • Hate much?

      Many global companies get investigated for bribes but these bribes are demanded from local officials and is simply the cost of doing business there. Heck, try and build a factory over in a developing country and you (your local contractor) ends up bribing just about everyone who holds a permit or inspects, which is a lot of people as their actual paychecks are pathetic.

      And Microsoft holds patents, so what? If they were not legal, no one would pay the fees.

      Microsoft is a for profit company, just like Google or Apple or IBM. Nothing good or bad about them, they make money.

      Hate less.
      Rann Xeroxx
      • do you defend corrupting companies at all?

        do you defend corrupting companies at all? nice, no wonder why these companies like Microsoft, Apple, Oracle still exist.

        "Microsoft busted trying to pay bloggers to write nice things about Internet Explorer" - what else is Microsoft paying for?

        BEWARE OF Microsoft! trying to bribe US officials to go after Google because Microsoft is not able to compete anymore: "Supposedly Penn has been going around Washington trying to recruit consultants, telling them that Microsoft has armed him with a $50 million budget to go after Google."

        Greedy Microsoft - Because of the trust Apple+Microsoft+Adobe you have to pay more for IT in Australia.

        Microsoft earns more money from Android through blackmailing Android manufacturers through ridiculous patents than from his mobile operating system Windows Phone.
        Jiří Pavelec
  • Personally, I think the numbers are inflated.

    Like nearly all the numbers out of the BSA, and RIAA.

    It is in their best interest to have huge numbers, to justify their own existence.
    • Yes, it's odd that they seem to come up with "OMG, piracy climbing" headlines whenever they are trying to cajole/pressure weak politicians into changing the law to suit their corporate objectives.
  • Journalist's use of percent.

    I wonder if journalists who use percentages understand what it is they are talking about? 100% of 1 is 1. 60% as used here could be based on 3 which equals 2.
    I have 2 applications on my computer and 50% of them are business diaries. Hell, that's 1 application. Good thing I paid for it. Hate to think 50% of my apps were pirated.
    Dr. Ghostly
  • No Piracy Here.

    Thanks to the demise of XP we now experience far fewer hassles since having switched all our PCs to Linux Mint.
    W8? No Thanks!
    No more lack of control over our choice of OS, BSODs, constant unexpected re-boots & malware threats & a better experience all round.
    Why pirate when there are better free options?