Thailand's information and communications technology (ICT) spending will continue to show solid growth this year and defy the economic slump, says global research firm IDC Thailand.
The market is expected to grow by 9.8% to reach US$12.1 billion, driven largely by heavy investment in ICT infrastructure and emerging data centres, said Michael Araneta, the head of operations.
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Thailand is set to have the second-highest ICT spending in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.
"The Kingdom has high potential to become a regional ICT hub with the advent of the Asean Economic Community (AEC)," Mr Araneta said.
However, he acknowledged that Thailand's ICT market could be affected by a global economic slowdown next year.
Mr Araneta said the retail sector and the government's water and infrastructure projects look set to become the biggest ICT spenders next year, which should boost the overall economy.
He said the increasing number of large organisations in Thailand including Charoen Pokphand Plc and Thai Beverage Plc, are investing more in the Asean region to prepare for the AEC, particularly in Myanmar and Indonesia.
Jarit Sidhu, an analyst at IDC Thailand, said the overall personal computer (PC) market, including desktop and notebook computers, is set to contract by 7% this year compared with a contraction of 3% last year.
PC shipments are expected to reach 3.4 million units this year _ 1.6 million desktop computers and 1.8 million notebooks.
Mr Jarit said Thailand's PC market is likely to face the worst situation this year as sales of smartphones and tablets eat into sales of PCs.
He also said the government's first-time car buyer scheme and the economic slowdown have significantly affected the PC market.
Thailand's smartphone market is expected to grow by 70% to 9 million units this year, accounting for 40% of mobile sales.
Sales of tablets are likely to grow by 94% to 5.3 million units, thanks mainly to the government's One Tablet per Child scheme, said Mr Jarit.