UN says Asian tech exports far outpace US

Feb 02, 2011 JOHN HEILPRIN , Associated Press
A man uses his mobile phone near the sign advertising Samsung Electronics Co's HD TV screen at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Samsung Electronics said net profit rose 13 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 amid higher sales of semiconductors and smartphones as the technology giant rounded out a record year for profits and revenue. (AP Photo/ Lee Jin-man)

(AP) -- Asia is now exporting two-thirds of the world's mobile phones, personal computers, digital televisions and other high-tech goods for information and communications, in a significant shift in world trade accentuated by the global financial crisis, the U.N. reported Wednesday.

The new U.N. data shows that China and Hong Kong exported $498 billion in such goods in 2009, more than four times the United States share of $113 billion. Also included in such were cameras, iPads, CD and DVD players and other consumer electronics.

Global exports of information and communication technology, known as ICT - key to developing economies - represented 12 percent of world merchandise traded last year, up about 1 percent from a year earlier, according to the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development figures.

"The striking thing is that Asia really has emerged as a very dominant player," said Torbjorn Fredriksson, who heads the ICT analysis section at the U.N. trade organization known as UNCTAD. "And you can also see that within just one year, their share increased by 2.5 percent, which is quite a large share globally, and we link (that) to the financial crisis."

Asia's gain has come mostly at the expense of the U.S., Japan and Europe, he said, with the quick rebound of Asian economies also playing a role.

Trade in ICT goods is increasingly dominated by Asia; seven of the top 10 exporters - led by China and Hong Kong - are Asian.

The next closest is the U.S., which exports almost 11 percent of ICT goods. The U.S., China and Hong Kong are also the biggest importers of ICT goods - partly a reflection of the inter-Asian trade in components.

The latest data support "recent findings that the has led to significant shifts in world trade of ICT goods towards Asia," UNCTAD said.

Most major exporters saw a decrease in ICT goods due the financial crisis, but the decline was sharper in Portugal and Finland, where the drop was more than 50 percent, and in Ireland, where it fell 36 percent. In Czech Republic, France, Germany and Sweden it decreased 20 percent.

China, , the Philippines, Korea and Thailand also notched modest losses.

By contrast, India's exports soared 244 percent and its imports of ICT goods also rose. Exports of those by Romania, Israel and Malaysia also rose sharply, UNCTAD reported.

But imports of ICT goods declined by more than 35 percent in Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Russia and Spain for a mixture of factors that include the financial crisis, Fredriksson said.

UNCTAD says that mobile telephones and other ICT goods were helping blaze the way for new "micro-enterprises" that are mushrooming in developing countries - sometimes creating new livelihoods for the poor.

For example, Kenya has more than 20,000 agents for the M-PESA mobile-based transaction service, Fredriksson said.

Some 1 million people are now involved in India's mobile phone sector, he said. UNCTAD, citing Grameenphone figures, said Bangladesh has an estimated 350,000 "village phone ladies" who run mobile phone booths in remote places so others can call relatives or get health care.

Explore further: Why the Sony hack isn't big news in Japan

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Africa world's fastest growing mobile phone market

Oct 23, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Mobile phone subscriptions in Africa have defied the world economic crisis by growing faster than in any other region of the world since 2003, according to a United Nations report published ...

Why 'Made in China' should increase our carbon footprint

Oct 19, 2007

Nearly a quarter of China's carbon emissions are created by goods manufactured and exported to Western consumers, according to research by University of Sussex climate change analysts Dr Tao Wang and Dr Jim Watson.

Recommended for you

Why the Sony hack isn't big news in Japan

40 minutes ago

Japan's biggest newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, featured a story about Sony Corp. on its website Friday. It wasn't about hacking. It was about the company's struggling tablet business.

Sony faces 4th ex-employee lawsuit over hack

5 hours ago

A former director of technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment has sued the company over the data breach that resulted in the online posting of his private financial and personal information.

Sony tells AFP it still plans movie release

6 hours ago

Sony Pictures boss Michael Lynton denied Friday the Hollywood studio has "caved" by canceling the release of "The Interview," and said it still hoped to release the controversial film.

2012 movie massacre hung over 'Interview' decision

20 hours ago

When a group claiming credit for the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment threated violence against theaters showing "The Interview" earlier this week, the fate of the movie's big-screen life was all but ...

Clooney slams skittish Hollywood after Sony hack

Dec 19, 2014

Film star George Clooney slammed the Hollywood movie industry for failing to stand up against the cyber threats that prompted Sony Pictures to cancel release of the movie "The Interview."

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.