Linux, PDAs, storage, and portable consumer products drive ICT growth

The ICT industry is expected to grow by 6% in 2006, mainly driven by Internet-related investments, Linux servers, digital storage, personal digital assistants and new portable consumer products. But any return to the heady days of 20% and 30% growth in many products and market segments in the 1990s are unlikely, according to the latest edition of the OECD's Information Technology Outlook 2006.

Many new technology applications may have major economic and social impacts. Among these emerging technologies are ubiquitous networks, which make it possible to follow persons and objects and provide real-time tracking, storing and processing of information. Applications of enabling network technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) and other sensor technologies are increasingly affordable, investment is rising and applications are moving into commercial use. Location-based services use a variety of position-determining technologies to follow the location of objects and users. The two most common applications are navigation and asset tracking.

Natural disaster prevention and warning technologies (tsunami early warning systems)are becoming more important for preventing disasters that result in large economic losses(USD 170 billion in 2005). Participative web (Web 2.0) refers to the active participation of Internet users in creating content, customising the Internet and developing applications for a broad variety of fields. Blogs are one of the most popular forms, with around 50 million in mid-2006. In Asia, the number is disproportional to the general use of the Internet.

Open source (the 'Linuxeffect'), online delivery of IT services (the “Google” effect) and new digital products are also disrupting how technology is developed and delivered. Widespread restructuring is expected to continue in IT services, telecommunications and digital content as industries and firms adapt to changing technologies and markets.

With the emergence of new growth economies in Eastern European and non-OECD developing countries, world ICT spending was up 5.6% a year between 2000 and 2005. China was the sixth largest ICT market in 2005 at USD 118 billion (after the United States, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom and France), although total ICT spending there is still only about one-tenth of the United States but about two and a half times the spending of India (USD 46 billion). ICT spending in non-OECD countries is still more focused on hardware than on services as the basic physical ICT infrastructure is still being built.

After overtaking the United States in 2004 as the world's leading ICT exporter, China has continued strong ICT exports in 2005 and 2006. China imports electronic components

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