Electronic components drive renewed growth in trade, in technology goods in 2017

11.03.2019: * Internet of Things propels exponential growth * The Republic of Korea becomes the second largest world exporter of information and communications technology goods, behind China

* Internet of Things propels exponential growth


* The Republic of Korea becomes the second largest world exporter of information and communications technology goods, behind China




Demand for electronic components used in Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices drove the value of trade in international imports of information and communications technology (ICT) goods in 2017 to reach $2.1 trillion, according to new figures released by UNCTAD.



Trade in ICT goods grew slightly faster than merchandise trade and represented 13.4% of the total in 2017, down from the 16.1% high during the dot-com boom in 2000 but the highest in two years. By comparison, in 2017 machinery and transport equipment accounted for 37% and food for 8% of merchandise imports.



“This is the first time that global ICT goods imports have rebounded since 2014, showing a good 6% annual growth and bringing a reprieve to the past two years of decline,” Shamika N. Sirimanne, Director of the Technology and Logistics Division at UNCTAD, said.



Among ICT products, trade in electronic components continued to expand with an annual growth rate of 8% – just below that of computers and consumer electronics (9%) – and is shows long-term, steady growth (figure 1).



“The expansion of electronic components, which are the basic building blocks of electronic circuits and semiconductors, reflects the fact that more and more products and activities are going digital worldwide. Much of this trend can be associated with the advent of the IoT, which has witnessed unprecedented growth since 2015.


This trend may be further accentuated in the coming years.” Ms. Sirimanne said - read more here




While China is by far the largest exporter of ICT goods, the Republic of Korea boasted the highest growth rate among the top 10 exporters in 2017 (table 1). Exports also grew significantly for all the other top ten exporters, except the United States. The market share of the top 10 exporters was about 86% in 2017.



Meanwhile, the United States is the top importer followed closely by China and Hong Kong (China). Mexico was the only economy among the top 10 where ICT goods imports did not grow in 2017.



The share of intra-industry trade remains high in this sector, with interdependence between the big Asian, North American and European players, and the top importers typically also feature among the top exporters of ICT goods (table 1).



ICT goods imports to developed economies showed 10% annual growth while ICT goods imports to economies in transition in South East Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States grew by 29%. This growth is significantly more than in developing economies – 3% – while in the 47 Least Developed Countries they dropped by a hefty 30%. In 2017, Eastern Asia accentuated its role as the leading export hub, while Africa, Southern and Western Asia all saw significant declines (table 2).



However, at 54% market share, developing economies import more than developed economies because they have a more significant role in assembling ICT goods and so import significantly more electronic components (figure 2).



Developing countries also show a stronger preference for communication equipment over computers and peripherals, in line with the implementation of mobile-first strategies. On the other hand, the shopping basket is more balanced between the different ICT product categories in developed economies.






Table 1. Top 10 importers and exporters of ICT goods, million US dollars, 2017 and annual growth rate (2016-2017)



Top 10 exporters          2017    2016-2017    Top 10 importers          2017    2016-2017


1  China                     612663  10%       1  United States of America  343650  9%
2  Korea, Republic of        141925  29%       2  China                     329849  11%
3  China, Taiwan Province of 139206  15%       3  China, Hong Kong SAR      305615  11%
4  Singapore                 119520  8%        4  Germany                   102495  15%
5  Germany                   71682   15%       5  Singapore                 91366   11%
6  United States of America  68577   0%        6  Japan                     87355   11%
7  Malaysia                  67094   16%       7  Korea, Republic of        71861   13%
8  Mexico                    65955   9%        8  China, Taiwan Province of 63923   18%
9  Japan                     58298   9%        9  Mexico                    63530   -1%
10 Netherlands               55578   10%       10 Netherlands               62973   16%
World                     1632204 4%           World                     2126905 6%




Note: Values adjusted for re-imports and re-exports.
Source: UNCTADStat




Table 2. Imports of ICT goods by region, million US dollars, 2017, annual growth rate (2016-2017)
2017            Change 2016-2017


Grouping/ Region                   Exports Imports Exports Imports



Developed economies                443564  950602  7%      10%
Transition economies               3019    29174   28%     29%
Developing economies               1185622 1147128 3%      3%
Africa                          2695    17660   -13%    -12%
Latin America and the Caribbean 67465   105109  7%      3%
Asia and Oceania                1115461 1024358 3%      3%
Eastern Asia                 894119  771447  14%     12%
Southern Asia                2615    47378   3%      27%
South-Eastern Asia           216337  172585  -25%    -22%
Western Asia                 2388    32787   -12%    -26%
LDCs                               79      3124    -89%    -30%



Note: Values adjusted for re-imports and re-exports.



Source: UNCTADStat





2019 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
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11.03.2019 / MaP

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