APAC software piracy rate climbs to 62 percent

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.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

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. 

Editorial standards