United Nations Data Finds ICT Imports Slow, Comms Equipment Increases
Monday, February 01, 2016 | Comments

Global imports of information and communications technology (ICT) goods increased by only 1 percent in 2014, the latest year for which figures are available, the lowest rate of growth compared with the preceding five years, newly released United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) data show.

Global imports of communications equipment and electronic components were the only two subsectors that increased slightly in 2014 — up 3 percent and 2 percent respectively — compared with the previous year.

Developing countries, and those countries changing from a centrally planned economy to a market economy, accounted for more than half (57 percent) of total global imports, which reached a value of $2.1 trillion.

In 2014, Chinese exports and imports of ICT goods came to a halt after many years of growth. Among the top 10 importers of ICT goods, China and Singapore were the only economies with declining rates in 2014, down 4 percent and 3 percent respectively. By contrast, imports grew strongly in the Republic of Korea (up 11 percent), Hong Kong, China (up 9 percent), and Germany (up 8 percent). On the export side, there was zero growth for ICT goods from China, but Taiwan Province of China and Hong Kong, China, maintained positive and significant growth rates.

Economies with the largest declines of ICT goods imports in 2014 included Ukraine (down 34 percent), Argentina (down 23 percent), Paraguay (down 18 percent), Belarus (down 18 percent), Chile (down 17 percent), Kazakhstan (down 15 percent) and Hungary (down 13 percent).

The largest increases in ICT goods exports were for the Russian Federation (up 80 percent), the Philippines (up 40 percent), Latvia (up 30 percent), South Africa (up 25 percent), Poland (up 21 percent), Finland (up 13 percent) and Australia (up 12 percent).

In total, ICT goods accounted for 12 percent of world merchandise imports in 2014. That proportion ranged between 44 percent for Hong Kong; around 20 to 24 percent in China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore; and less than 1 percent in Afghanistan and Mauritania.

A complete dataset for 2000 – 2014 on trade in ICT goods can be accessed free at http://stats.unctad.org/ict3ict4. Data for 123 economies are available, including by trading partner and by type of good traded.

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