Hong Kong’s information technology (IT) equipment (computer and parts) imports in 2009 dropped 8.7 percent to US$31 billion. The value of U.S. IT equipment exports to Hong Kong in 2009 was US$1.56 billion, representing five percent of Hong Kong’s total IT imports.
Although there are no official statistics on software and IT services, Business Monitor International estimated Hong Kong’s software and IT services spending in 2009 at US$1.1 billion and US$1.2 billion, respectively.
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Hong Kong has experienced a decline in ICT demand in the past 12 months since the start of the economic downturn. While budgets are still tight, there is cautious optimism in the market that spending will pick up in 2010. International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that ICT spending in the Asia Pacific region will grow 7.7 percent in 2010.
Industry observers believe that the economic downturn has made an overarching change in how and why companies make new technology investments. Most notably, the key areas of focus going forward will be in projects that can generate an immediate return on investment and tangible improvements in managerial and operational efficiencies, such as customer care, client retention and business analytics applications. In addition, Cloud Computing, which was last year’s focus area, will move from being a buzz word to a more tactile reality as service providers come to grips with the challenges of providing public cloud computing platforms and organizations realize the flexibility and cost savings that are being offered. IDC predicts that the combination of 5 nines service reliability guarantee plus robust business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities will be the new “killer application” in cloud services.
In addition to the increase in corporate spending, an increase in government spending is also expected to stimulate demand and employment. The Hong Kong Government has always been one of the major driving forces behind IT development and usage in Hong Kong. Estimated Government IT spending for fiscal year 2009/2010 is US$740 million, a significant increase over the US$508 million of IT spending for fiscal year 2008/2009.
Although Hong Kong is a relatively small market for U.S. IT exports, U.S. companies should consider Hong Kong as a gateway into the mainland China market. A substantial amount of IT products imported to Hong Kong are re-exported to China. In 2007, about 60 percent of Hong Kong’s total exports of IT equipment went to China, totaling approximately US$20 billion.