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Growing software sector 'needs more govt focus'

The software industry is expected to outpace growth in gross domestic product, so the government should pay more attention to supporting this economic driver, according to the Thailand Development Research Institute.

"The software industry is a rising star. It is expected to continue growing rapidly at double digits," TDRI president Somkiat Tangkitvanich said yesterday.

The software market is estimated to reach Bt49.56 billion this year, of which Bt37.86 billion would be from serviced software and Bt11.70 billion from packaged software.

"The software market in the latest survey is the value of total software development in Thailand. It excludes local software consumption.

"This year, because of the country's economic slowdown due to the decline in exports and investment as well as the rise in family debt, GDP is forecast to increase only 1.5 per cent.

"Thus, the software industry is targeted to grow at only 8.6 per cent.

"If the country did not have these negative factors, the software industry this year could go up 14-15 per cent," he said.

Last year, the software industry was worth Bt45.65 billion, of which Bt3.36 billion was exported. Exported software grew 17 per cent last year and this year is expected to continue that momentum.

Local software consumption last year was Bt72.98 billion, of which Bt42.30 billion was for local software and Bt39.68 billion for imported software. This is a good sign that the use of local software was higher than imported software.

The government accounted for a third of domestic software consumption, while the private sector made up the rest. The financial industry was the biggest spender on software last year.

"To support the local software industry, we suggested that the government, through the Software Industry Promotion Agency, promote the use of Thai-developed software among the business and government sectors.

Overseas markets

"For Thai software firms, we recommended they go to overseas markets especially nearby countries," he said.

TDRI also forecasts the embedded software market this year to jump 12.3 per cent to Bt6.43 billion. Embedded software is another potential market. Embedded software is written to control machines or devices that are not typically thought of as computers.

Last year, the embedded-software market took off, driven by the force of the first-car scheme and the growth of the automobile industry.

The TRDI's research into the Thai software market was supported by the Software Industry Promotion Agency.


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