ISLAMABAD, Dec 22: Shipment of personal computers (PC) in Pakistan grew by 20.9 per cent to 173,834 units during second quarter (Q2) of 2006, says a leading Singapore-based Information Technology (IT) market research group, Springboard Research.

In its annual report on Pakistan, the research company said the portable segment experienced substantial growth of 64.1 per cent year-to-year mainly due to a major deal of 4,500 portables announced by the Bahria University.

Pakistan's PC/Server market is one of the fastest emerging segments in South Asia, which during the past few years, attracted a lot of attention from the international IT vendors.

Improving economic indicators and foreign investor's confidence will further help the sector gain momentum and the growing trend of strengthening the information technology infrastructure by both government and private sectors may trigger an expansion of competition in the market, the report said.

The second quarter (April-June) also yielded stiff competition among multinational vendors in the desktop market as the Hewlet Packard led the market with 5.1 per cent share followed by Lenovo and Dell.

The government agenda of promoting local players also seems to be materializing for the domestic market development.

During Q2 2006, Raffles, a major local player, registered the highest growth in the PC market with 49.5 per cent year-to-year growth while shipments of Inbox (another local player) also grew substantially.

Amongst all segments, government held the greatest share (23.7 per cent) of total PC shipments in Q2 2006, followed by large enterprises (500+ employees) and the home segment.

Additionally, the government, banking and telecom sectors are also spending heavily in strengthening their IT infrastructure, the Springboard noticed.

One area which has drawn attention from both local and international players is the growing telecommunication sector in the country.

Pakistan's telecom sector has witnessed unprecedented growth in the recent years with the total information technology spending in the industry estimated at $134.5 million in 2005, generating 22.5 per cent annual growth. Currently the hardware segment accounts for about 70 per cent of the total telecom IT spending in the country, the report said.

"With the deregulation of the fixed line and mobile sectors, we expect to see a considerable amount of investment both locally and internationally," the company said, adding in this event, IT business opportunities for vendors would be accelerated.

Though the government has announced new standard operating procedures and projects for the IT industry, the GST (general sales tax) imposed in the new fiscal budget would increase computer prices by at least 15 to 20 per cent and make them unaffordable for some home users, educational institutions and other price-sensitive users.

On predictions as to what information technology vendors would expect during 2007, the Springboard Research suggested that the year will present unique opportunities to information technology vendors to take advantage of the dominant market trends.

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