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Hey big spender: China set to take Asian IT spending crown

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China’s ascent to the top of every conceivable tech rankings list is set to continue in 2013 when it becomes the biggest IT spender in Asia, leapfrogging ailing Japan as it prepares to fork out $173bn (£110bn) on tech kit, according to IDC.

The analyst firm’s latest IT Black Book reckonings predict next year will see the People’s Republic jump four percentage points above its nearest rival, which will record spending of $166bn (£105bn).

Kitty Fok, IDC China country manager, said in an emailed statement to The Reg that the country’s impressive growth will be driven by a surge in consumer IT spending of 29.8 per cent in 2012, with rapid growth in smartphones and tablets key.

“Personal consumer electronics will become more intelligent and expand toward small and medium-sized cities,” she added.

“Consumption upgrades, smart home, and intelligent auto, as well as intelligent housing and property management, make people's lives more convenient, and such consumption will fuel the rapid growth of manufacturing and retail businesses as well as the service sector in the industrial chain, resulting in strong IT demand.”

The enterprise IT market will see more “steady development”, she added, although no figures were available for the size of growth expected this year.

“Growth of the enterprise-class IT market will be driven by demand for end-user applications, while consumers' use of mobile applications and business personal consumer mobile applications will drive enterprise-class hardware, software, and integration services,” said Fok.

The predictions come as China has already declared its intention to become the biggest e-commerce market in the world by 2015, while sales of PCs in the country are set to surge 13 per cent this year, twice the worldwide average, according to market watcher IHS iSuppli.

The country already represents the biggest online population in the world, at 520m, and with more than a billion mobile phone subscribers tops the global charts in tech-related field.

The US has seen its pre-eminent position in the world, both as a global and financial superpower and IT consumer, increasingly challenged by the People’s Republic in recent years, however there were some crumbs of comfort from IDC.

US spending is about 2.5 times the size of China's IT spending and is adding around $20-25 billion (£13-16bn) per year in incremental market value, whereas China's incremental growth is more like $16bn (£10.2bn), Fok explained.

“Because of China's current size the growth is higher than the US relative to base years, however since the US is adding market value at a higher rate, we cannot say based on our current forecasts that China will surpass the US in the near term,” she added. ®

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