Double-digit growth seen for software
The software market is expected to grow by double digits in 2015, its highest pace in three years, thanks to the proliferation of smart wireless devices and the growth of digital lifestyles.
Despite the gloomy economic outlook, the local software market remains promising, as the private sector continues spending on software and software-related services, according to a survey by the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI).
President Somkiat Tangkitvanich said the software industry was projected to grow by 11.1% this year compared with only single-digit growth in the past three years.
While government spending on software and software-related services is slow, local e-commerce and the increased use of digital communications are pushing growth in the software market, he said.
Mr Somkiat said the survey found the number of smart device users was increasing rapidly, with 32 million now using smartphones, 3 million operating tablets and 100,000 owning wearable devices.
The TDRI expects the number of smartphone users to reach 55 million by 2020, with 10 million tablet users and 1.2 million wearable device users.
In comparison, PC users numbered 12 million, with 5 million internet-connected TV users, projected to reach 20 million and 22 million, respectively, by 2020.
Mr Somkiat said e-commerce and cloud computing services were major growth drivers in the local software market.
E-commerce has grown by an average 18% a year over the past seven years.
Thailand's e-commerce market was valued at 426 billion baht in 2013.
He said SMEs faced difficulties recruiting information technology staff as the burgeoning digital technology needed vast numbers of IT human resources.
Mr Somkiat said Thailand's software market was valued at 84.2 billion baht last year including 50.4 billion from domestic sales.
Thailand's overall software production was valued at 55 billion baht in 2014, of which software accounted for 15 billion and software-related services 40 billion.
"We expect the local software production value will continue growing by 12.8% this year," Mr Somkiat said.
The software-as-a-service market was worth 12.7 billion baht last year, up by 34.4% from 2013.
However, Mr Somkiat said the market for embedded software for PCs and notebooks grew by only 0.4% to 2.3 billion baht in 2014 due mainly to the steady decline in PC and notebook use.