China surpassed the US to become the world's number-one exporter of IT goods in 2004, according to a report released by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
China exported US$180 billion worth of information and communications technology goods last year, including mobile phones, laptops and digital cameras, up from US$123 billion in 2003. US ICT exports grew at a slower rate, rising from US$137 billion in 2003 to US$149 billion in 2004, the OECD says.
The data also showed that the US imports more ICT goods from China than from any other source. China supplied 27% of ICT imports to the US in 2004, up from 10% in 2000.
Total worldwide trade by the US, including both imports and exports, remained higher than that of China. US world trade reached US$375 billion in 2004, compared to US$301 billion in 2003. China's imports and exports were worth US$329 billion in 2004, compared to US$234 billion the year earlier.
The OECD figures shows that trade between China and other Asian countries is growing, while ICT imports to China and Asia from the European Union and the US is declining. China is now importing more components such as chips from other Asian countries rather than the EU and the US.
But China is also building more components itself. Electronic components make up China’s second largest export item, after computers and related equipment, the OECD says.