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By | Phil Muncaster 6th April 2012 07:00

APAC IT spend to grow THREE TIMES faster than rest of the world

But report highlights digital divide in the region

Asia Pacific is powering ahead of the rest of the world and driving a recovery in global IT spending forecast to total $3.7 trillion (£2.3tr) in 2012, according to the latest data from Gartner.

While total worldwide growth is set to stand at 2.5 per cent this year, down from the analyst’s previous forecast of 3.7 per cent, the market in Asia Pacific will grow more than three times this rate, with IT spending forecast to reach $696bn (£439bn) by the end of the year.

Gartner research vice president Richard Gordon said “uncertainty and volatility” in the macroeconomy – Eurozone crisis, worries about the Chinese real estate bubble, the Thailand floods and rising oil prices – is making the business environment “quite challenging”.

“Companies have been cautious about how much they spend and what they’re investing in across the board and particularly in IT,” he said. “Consumers are a little gun shy as well, and are looking for more stability in the economy before making a decision about buying goods or services.”

However, the Global Information Technology Report 2012 from the World Economic Forum tells a slightly more nuanced story. The long-running report, now in its eleventh year, ranks countries according to how they perform against its Network Readiness Index (NRI).

The NRI score is given according to how the country performs in ten categories, including things like political and regulatory environment, skills, infrastructure and the environment for business and innovation.

Aside from Singapore in second place, no Asia Pac countries made it into the top ten. Taiwan, South Kore, Hong Kong and New Zealand were placed 11-14th, however, while Australia and Japan came in at 17th and 18th.

There is a substantial gap been this group of leading Asian countries and the chasing pack led by Malaysia in 29th, however. Surprisingly China and India are way down in 59th and 61st respectively.

The report argues that in China’s case it is its stifling regulatory framework and problems with piracy which are holding it back. ®

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