IDC: China, Taiwan to be Asia's next broadband stars

China and Taiwan will see a rapid growth in the number of broadband Internet access subscribers and will begin to challenge South Korea, currently the largest broadband market in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan), according to research released by IDC.

South Korea has nearly 10 million broadband subscribers out of an estimated population of 48 million and the broadband market is reaching saturation with a 21 per cent penetration rate, according to IDC.

China had around 3 million broadband subscribers in 2002, out of a population of 1.28 billion, a relatively low penetration rate of 0.2 per cent.

By 2007, South Korea and China will have around 18 million subscribers each, representing CAGRs (compound annual growth rates) of 12 per cent in South Korea and 55 per cent in China.

Taiwan's subscriber base will rise at a CAGR of 25 per cent from 2 million now to 6 million in 2007, giving it the third largest broadband subscriber base in Asia-Pacific. Other broadband markets with over 2 million subscribers in 2007 will emerge in Hong Kong, Australia and the Philippines, IDC said.

DSL (digital subscriber line) is the preferred broadband technology in the Asia-Pacific with a 60 per cent market share and the large telcos being key providers of the technology. Cable modem subscribers account for 28 per cent of subscribers and optical-fibre metro Ethernet accounts for 8 per cent. Metro Ethernet will gain market share at the expense of cable through 2007 when it will account for 19 per cent of the subscriber market, according to IDC.

Broadband providers are looking to increase ARPU (average revenue per user) with new services such as voice-over-broadband telephony, Internet protocol-to-virtual private network connectivity, video-conferencing and security applications.

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