Software Piracy in Asia

WSJ on the growing piracy of software in Asia:

Despite efforts by many Asian governments to crack down on software piracy, illegal copying of business-related software in the region increased for the second consecutive year in 2001, according to a survey by the Washington industry watchdog group Business Software Alliance.

The survey showed that Vietnam, China and Indonesia, respectively, are the three countries with the highest rates of piracy in the world.

“Asia is now far and away the region with the highest dollar losses,” arising from software piracy, the survey said. It estimated forgone revenue for software vendors in Asia in 2001 totaled $4.7 billion, or 43% of the global total, compared with $4.1 billion in 2000. World-wide, the percentage of bootlegged software rose to 40% of all installed software in 2001, from a low of 36% in 1999, according to BSA.

The article also states that the problem is likely to be understated because “it only looks at business software and not at operating systems or entertainment software like games”.

The figures for piracy are not surprising…software continues to be priced in US dollars in Asia, and this puts it beyond the reach of most people and enterprises. They are not born robbers. If pricing was re-thought (to one-tenth of the current levels or even lower), not only will volumes go up, but it will make businesses much more competitive which will lead them to invest more in technology.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.