South Korea's IT market is highly developed, with widespread use of IT products and solutions by consumers, public authorities and enterprises. Despite the maturity of the market, we forecast strong growth in 2013, and over our five-year forecast to 2017. We expect the market to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2% over 2013 to 2017, increasing slightly as a share of GDP. Key factors underpinning this positive outlook include: a favourable policy environment that is promoting emerging technologies such as cloud computing, machine-to-machine (or smart) infrastructure, and Big Data. In addition, consumers have demonstrated a demand for the latest products in the hardware market, most recently devices such as tablets, phablets and hybrids/ultra-thin notebooks. We believe this characteristic of local consumers will drive growth for hardware even though device penetration is already high.
Headline Expenditure Predictions
- Computer Hardware Sales: KRW5,404bn in 2013 to KRW6.623bn in 2017, CAGR of +5.1% in local currency terms. A booming tablet market and indications of growing consumer demand for hybrids and ultra-thin notebooks utilising Windows 8 and Intel's Haswell chipsets will sustain growth in market value.
- Software Sales: KRW7,463bn in 2013 to KRW9,675bn in 2017, CAGR of 6.3% in local currency terms. Security software market should see rapid growth as South Korea continues to be victim of cyber attacks. Specialised vertical specific application packages should also be an area of growth in enterprise software.
- IT Services Sales: KRW8,984bn in 2013 to KRW12,865bn in 2017, CAGR of 9.2% in local currency terms. Cloud computing is expected to gain more traction in 2013, both among large enterprises and SMEs.
- Risk/Reward Ratings: South Korea sits in second position in our Asia-Pacific ratings table with a score of 71, behind Singapore but ahead of Hong Kong and Australia.
Key Trends and Developments:
The issue of cyber security moved up the government's agenda again in June 2013 following another largescale attack, crystallising the threat from North Korea in the minds of the government, consumers and enterprises. In late June and early July 2013, 69 government offices, news outlets and other institutions, including the presidential office website, were attacked, including the theft of personal data. The government has created a cyber security policy group, is pursuing sector-specific initiatives (i.e. requirements on the financial sector to build portioned networks), and is embarking on an effort to train large numbers of security experts. BMI believes the government may have to ramp up its efforts, due to its high exposure to cyber attack from the activities in North Korea, and its plans to promote the use of emerging technologies such as smart utilities and Big Data in critical industries.