Asia's SMBs to increase spend on PCs and servers

New study shows a growing use of mobile computers, driven mainly by an expanding mobile workforce, technology improvements and declining notebook prices.

SINGAPORE--Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) will spend US$9.1 billion on PCs and over US$800 million on servers by the end of 2005, according to a new study by IDC.

The tech research firm also projects that SMBs will increase their contribution rate to the region's overall expenditure on PCs and servers from 28 percent in 2004 to 31 percent in 2008.

Lau Tong-Yen, Asia-Pacific senior analyst of SMB research at IDC, said that the growth is mainly fuelled by developing countries in India and China. She noted that developed nations such as Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, are likely to experience shrinking IT expenditures for desktops and notebooks.

"IDC has a positive outlook for the server market in the Asia-Pacific region as SMBs increasingly adopt more servers or deploy higher valued servers in order to cater to the requirements of continued expansion," she explained.

These companies look at reliability and the price-performance of servers before making their purchases, the study shows.

"Small and medium-sized businesses are slowly realizing the potential advantages in leasing or financing their PCs and servers," Lau explained. "There was a slight increase in the percentage of respondents utilizing these options over the past years and IDC expects this percentage to continue growing in the next few years."

The IDC study also revealed an increasing trend of notebook adoption among SMBs in the region, where the percentage of users in this category grew to 15 percent in 2004, from 14 percent the previous year.

This growth is expected to continue due mainly to the expanding mobile workforce, improvements in the reliability and functionality of notebooks, as well as declining notebook prices.

About one-third of respondents in the IDC study disclosed plans to increase their spending on notebooks in 2005, with the average increase pegged at 4 percent.