Resurgent Thailand displays IT spend growth

Thailand rebounding from last year's floods and weak global economy to come in second behind Indonesia in region's top IT spenders and pushes Singapore into third place, research shows.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

Thailand's "insatiable appetite" for smartphones and IT services highlights it as the Southeast Asian market to watch for 2012, as it is expected to surpass Singapore and rank second in terms of top IT spend within the region, according to IDC.

The research firm released its findings on Thursday, stating that despite the current gloomy global economy and last year's floods that negatively impacted the country's economy, Thailand's IT spend for 2012 will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.8 percent to reach US$11 billion.

This places Thailand second behind Indonesia, while Singapore comes in third with US$10.6 billion, it stated. The Southeast Asian region's total IT spend will reach US$54.7 billion this year.

Thailand's resurgence can be attributed to two factors: the local consumers' "insatiable appetite" for smartphones and the continual growth of its IT services market, IDC pointed out.

With regard to smartphone adoption, the country has been one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the region, with 76 percent year-on-year revenue growth in 2011 to hit over US$1.5 billion, it stated.

"Thailand will be one of the region's rising smartphone stars in 2012, as tech-savvy consumers continue to snap up Apple's iPhones at the high-end while international and domestic brands alike drive greater mass adoption by pushing smartphone prices below the US$150 mark," said Melissa Chau, research manager of client devices at IDC Asia-Pacific, in the statement.

The research firm also pointed out that the country's consumption of IT services is expected to "outstrip" the rest of the region between 2012 and 2015. This is because of companies' growing dependence on external service providers to allow faster reactions to market demands over in-house resources, and the major growth sectors are implementation services, operations management and support services.

Chris Morris, associate vice president at IDC Asia-Pacific, said: "The demand for IT services in Thailand is driven mainly by investment in facilities for manufacturing exports and a fast-growing consumer sector. With a small skills base to draw from, Thai companies and multinational companies have become reliant on externally-sourced IT services to deploy and manage their IT infrastructure and applications."

These two reasons will help drive the country's IT expenditure to reach US$16.6 billion by 2016, IDC added.

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