Asean SMBs to spend US$13.4 billion on IT

Region's six Asean countries will spend 15 percent more on technology in 2008, compared to last year, thanks to economic boom, says market analyst.

Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) across Asean countries--Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines--are expected to spend US$13.4 billion on IT this year.

The increased spending, which will account for a 15 percent rise over 2007, will be driven primarily by a boom in the economies of these countries and a rise in the number of small businesses (SBs), with up to 99 employees, according to a study by Access Markets International Partners (AMI-Partners).

The research company said computing spending will account for just over 50 percent of Asean's total IT spend, with Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand driving about 67 percent of this growth.

"PC-owning SBs will account for up to 78 percent of total IT spending among SMBs in 2008," Cindy Tan, Singapore-based research data analyst at AMI-Partners said in a press release Thursday.

"A substantial number of SBs in Asean, especially those in the emerging markets such as Indonesia and Vietnam, are still in the 'first wave' of IT adoption," Tan explained. "This wave involves building the basic IT infrastructure, such as deploying PCs, productivity suites and accounting software."

For midsize businesses (MBs) with 100 to 999 employees, about 40 percent of their IT spending will go toward acquiring computing hardware this year--the bulk of which will continue to be on basic infrastructure.

Another 42 percent of their IT spending this year will be on IT services, the Internet and storage, the study found.

"Improving Internet or networking bandwidth and connection speed, adding IT storage and deploying in-house or hosted backup and disaster recovery solutions are rated the top three most important IT priorities among Asean MBs this year," Tan said.

"With the demand for data-sharing, data back-up and collaboration among employees, there is an increasing need for storage and data management software solutions among these companies," she said. "Moreover, IT security investments are essential for protection against electronic threats, data loss and corruption, to ensure business continuity in the long run."