$2tr ICT goods imported in 2012


World imports of information and communication technology (ICT) goods stood at almost $2 trillion in 2012, according to the latest data released by Unctad, up from $1.8 trillion in 2011.Dawn reported.

This puts ICT goods such as mobile phones, smartphones, laptops, tablets, integrated circuits and other components at 11 per cent of world merchandise trade and among the top products traded globally exceeding trade in agricultural products (9.2pc) and motor vehicles (7.2pc) according to World Trade Organisation (WTO) data.

The latest data also show that developing countries continued to receive more than half of total ICT goods imports at 54pc. Between 2010 and 2012, most of the growth in ICT goods trade was spurred by rising demand for communication equipment, particularly in developing economies.

Telephones for cellular networks remained the second most traded ICT item worldwide after integrated circuits, with a global value of $190 billion, or just under 10pc of total imports of ICT goods. In some regions, however, communication equipment accounted for a much greater share in Africa it stood at 43pc in 2011.

In developed economies meanwhile, communication equipment was the only ICT category with positive growth, at 7pc between 2010 and 2012. During the same period, computer and peripheral equipment imports grew significantly in developing and transition economies, at 4pc and 11pc respectively, but stagnated in developed economies.

In 2012, global imports of notebooks, tablet PCs and other portable data processing devices were valued at $141 billion.

The data show that China stands out in many ways in the ICT landscape. In 2012, ICT goods made up as much as 27pc of China’s total merchandise exports and China remained the world’s top exporter of all main categories of ICT goods.

China is also the top importer of ICT goods, accounting for 18pc of world imports and 34pc of all electronic component imports, including re-imports from Hong Kong (China).

Asian developing economies represented the leading production hub of ICT goods, accounting for two thirds of world exports. Economies in East and South East Asia remain among the only net exporters of ICT goods, together with five European countries Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Malta and Slovakia and Israel.

Apart from these, all other developing and transition economies represented a very modest share of global ICT goods trade, with 4pc of total exports and about 8.5pc of total imports.

As net importers, these economies benefited from price reductions and the rapid pace of technical improvements in ICT goods.


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