ICT goods imports (% total goods imports)

Definition: Information and communication technology goods imports include computers and peripheral equipment, communication equipment, consumer electronic equipment, electronic components, and other information and technology goods (miscellaneous).

Description: The map below shows how ICT goods imports (% total goods imports) varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is Hong Kong SAR, China, with a value of 47.66. The country with the lowest value in the world is Afghanistan, with a value of 0.16.

Source: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's UNCTADstat database at http://unctadstat.unctad.org/ReportFolders/reportFolders.aspx.

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Development Relevance: The digital and information revolution has changed the way the world learns, communicates, does business, and treats illnesses. New information and communications technologies (ICT) offer vast opportunities for progress in all walks of life in all countries - opportunities for economic growth, improved health, better service delivery, learning through distance education, and social and cultural advances. Comparable statistics on access, use, quality, and affordability of ICT are needed to formulate growth-enabling policies for the sector and to monitor and evaluate the sector's impact on development. Although basic access data are available for many countries, in most developing countries little is known about who uses ICT; what they are used for (school, work, business, research, government); and how they affect people and businesses. The global Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development is helping to set standards, harmonize information and communications technology statistics, and build statistical capacity in developing countries. For more information see www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/partnership/. The work of the Partnership is directed towards achieving internationally comparable and reliable ICT statistics. In order to achieve this, its members are involved in developing and maintaining a core list of ICT indicators. Other activities include the compilation and dissemination of ICT data, and the provision of technical assistance enabling statistical agencies to collect data that underlie the core list of ICT indicators.

Limitations and Exceptions: Detailed trade data are widely available from country trade statistics. These are collected by the UNSD and published in their UN COMTRADE database. The ICT goods trade indicators are usually compiled by interested international and national agencies using COMTRADE data. Concepts are therefore consistent with those applying to the COMTRADE database. The main statistical issue associated with this indicator appears to be the different treatment of re-exports and re-imports by countries, depending on whether the Special or General Trade System is used.2 Re-imports are separately reported for some countries and the value of ICT re-imports (which is included in the value of ICT imports for those countries) is generally small.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Information and communication technology goods imports include computers and peripheral equipment, communication equipment, consumer electronic equipment, electronic components, and other information and technology goods (miscellaneous). Software is generally excluded, as there is a preference to record it under services (not an ICT good but an ICT product) to the extent possible. However it is hard to completely exclude embedded software from certain types of ICT goods, such as video game consoles (see for example the discussion on page 30 of the OECD guide cited below). ICT goods imports as a percentage of total imports is calculated for each country by dividing the value of its ICT goods imports by the total value of its goods imports. The result is then multiplied by 100 to be expressed as a percentage. ICT goods are defined according to the OECD’s Guide on Measuring the Information Society 2011 for Harmonized System (HS) 2007 and adapted to HS12 by UNCTAD in collaboration with UNSD (United Nations Statistics Division). This new list consists of 93 goods defined at the 6 digit level of the 2012 version of the HS. The technical note is available online at: http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/tn_unctad_ict4d02_en.pdf Data were downloaded from COMTRADE according to the reported classification (HS92, 96, 02, 07, 12) and aggregated into ICT groups by UNCTAD.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual