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Asia Pacific software sales forecast strong

International Data Corporation expects the software market in Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, to generate more than $16 billion in 2004.

SINGAPORE--International Data Corporation expects the software market in Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, to generate more than $16 billion in 2004 from nearly $6 billion last year.

This translates to an increase of more than 180 percent over the five-year period.

"The story of software demand is...a story of how various software tools, applications, and system software can facilitate and lower the lifetime costs of implementing strategic business...processes," IDC senior software research analyst Himanshu Dayal said in a presentation.

According to the report, which looks at 13 countries across the region, the software market is divided into three sections:

• System infrastructure software--which includes system management software, network management and security software

• Application tools--which includes information and data management software, application design and construction tools and application servers

• Application solutions--which includes consumer, commercial, and technical programs designed to provide packaged solutions for specific problems inherent in the home or in an industry or a business function.

Australia achieved the highest revenues in the software market, with about $2 billion in 1999. IDC estimates that the Australian market will grow to about $4 billion by 2004.

Singapore was the fifth-largest market in the region with about $466 million in revenue.

Among the reasons cited for Singapore's software sales were a vibrant economy, proactive government, regional business hub, IT savvy business and consumers, fast adoption for new technology and good telecom infrastructure.

Dayal said the Singapore software market is estimated to grow to about $1 billion by 2004.

"Singapore will reach the fourth position by 2004...overtaking Taiwan. I feel the factors for software sales in Singapore which I've mentioned will continue to remain so during the forecast period," he added.

Region's software leaders
Microsoft was 1999's market share leader in Asia Pacific--excluding Japan--with revenues of $806.4 million. That accounts for about 14 percent of the total license and maintenance software revenues in the region .

Second runner-up was IBM with $556.4 million in revenues, or about 10 percent, followed by Oracle with $408 million, or about 7 percent.

According to Dayal, most of Microsoft's revenue came from all three primary markets. For IBM, revenue came mainly from the application tools software market and system infrastructure software, while Oracle's revenues came from the application tools software market.