India's IT services exports top $150 billion for the first time, US and UK are biggest buyers

PLUS: APAC IT spend grows at over 5 percent; China's pop-up clampdown; Pakistan VPN exemptions; and more!

Asia In Brief India's software-related services industry won over $150 billion for the first time in 2021–2022, according to the nation's Reserve Bank (RBI).

In data released late last week, the RBI found that the industry's revenues rose by 17.2 percent in the period covered.

The United States and Canada were the top destinations for software exports with $86.9 billion, or 55.5 per cent share. Europe racked up $48.6 billion of spending on services delivered from India, with the UK responsible for $23.3 billion of that.

Services delivered off-site accounted for $139.2 billion of all spending.

The RBI attributed $4.5 billion of spending to software development, with and $42.3 billion to business process outsourcing. Unspecified "IT services" accounted for the remaining $101.7 billion.

APAC IT budget to rise: IDC

Analyst firm IDC's Worldwide ICT Spending Guide Enterprise and SMB by Industry predicts Asia/Pacific* ICT spending to grow by over 3.8 percent in 2022 and accelerate to a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2 precent by the end of 2026.

"ICT Spending in the region has moved from exuberant growth last year to that of strategic growth," said Vinay Gupta, IDC's research director for spending guides in the APC region. "Technology budgets are stable as of now. However, leaders will place greater scrutiny on technology investments as they represent a much larger share of spend and also to allow them sustainable business growth," he added.

Growth across the region remains spotty. Nations rich in resources such as Indonesia and Australia have done well in recent years, so local businesses have benefited from strong economic conditions and happily spent on IT. But both nations are heavily exposed to China's slowing economy, which could hurt their prospects and IT spend.

Other APAC nations may also slow spending in 2022 due to tough economic times. 2023 will be hard, too, because the education sector spent up big during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But IDC sees wholesale traders driving spend soon, and the region surging to $1.4 trillion of annual spend on IT by 2026.

Google localizes products and services for APAC

Google is bulking its teams across APAC. In an interview with Japan's Nikkei, senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan said the search and ads giant has come to realize that its product must reflect local culture to succeed.

As an example, Raghavan said a fifth of search queries in India are spoken and are often lengthy. As India has more than 20 widely spoken languages, Google needs to adapt its products to those users' needs.

Extra hiring in the region also reflects Google's desire to remain relevant to youth, who gravitate towards TikTok and other short video platforms.

China orders publishers not to create addictive news feeds

China's Cyberspace Administration last Friday sordered online services that use pop-ups and notifications to clean up their acts.

Service providers were told not to set up algorithm models that induce users to indulge in addiction, or to use algorithms to "maliciously block information, over-recommend, etc.; information that may affect their physical and mental health."

Services have also been told to use pop-ups to present important news and, according to machine translation, "not focus on pushing or hyping social hot and sensitive events, vicious cases, disasters, etc. panic."

And of course China requires that pop-ups link only to approved news sources, without editing their headlines or body text.

Clearly marking advertising is another requirement.

Service providers have until September 30 to get this done, or face "supervision."

Pakistan pops up a portal for VPN registration

Pakistan has long banned the use of VPNs, with exceptions for some freelance workers and organizations such as foreign missions that can justify their use. Applying for those exemptions previously required registration through an internet service provider. Over the weekend, Pakistan's Telecommunications Authority announced it has created a portal on which to file applications to run a VPN.

The application process remain onerous, requiring provision of the static IP address to be used and proof the VPN will be used for business purposes.

NTT plans sixth Malaysian datacenter

NTT Ltd has started work on a sixth datacenter in Malaysia.

Cyberjaya 6 (CBJ6) will complement the existing CBJ5, and together they'll offer total load of 22MW.

NTT uses its Malaysian facilities to service clients across the region, an ambition that will be advanced when the MIST submarine cable connecting Malaysia, Singapore, and India comes online and connects to its datacenters.

Ooredoo quits Myanmar

Qatar-controlled carrier Ooredoo is quitting Myanmar.

Unlike rival Telenor, which quit after deciding it could not do business under Myanmar's military junta, Ooredoo said its decision was driven by a strategy to focus on markets in which it is a leader.

Ooredoo is thought to be the fourth-ranked carrier in Myanmar.

Singapore conglomerate Nine Communications, which has other telecoms interests, will acquire Ooredoo Myanmar for approximately $576 million and total equity consideration of $162 million.

Philippines probes SMS phishing

The Philippines Senate has ordered an investigation into a savage wave of SMS phishing that has swamped the country with over a billion messages in recent weeks.

Many of the messages use recipients' names, which has sparked investigations about how spamming scum were able to match subscribers' numbers and names.

In other news

The Register's regional coverage last week included news of an extraordinary scheme to establish a semi-autonomous cryptocurrency haven in the Marshall Islands falling apart after its backers were charged with bribing legislators using money sourced from China.

We also looked at Pakistani politicians questioning the competence of the nation's cybersecurity agency.

China accused the USA of directing cyberattacks against a university that conducts aerospace research, revealing that allegation at the beginning of Cybersecurity Week.

The US later eased restrictions on tech it permits Huawei to access, in the name of allowing its own companies to participate in standards processes more fully.

Washington also introduced an interesting condition for those seeking subsidies to build semiconductor facilities stateside: forbidding bidders from building in China, too.

In India, Google commenced a pilot to test whether it should allow real-money gambling apps into the Play Store. Also in India, tech minister Rajeev Chandrasekar took issue with Wikipedia's moderation processes after false information felt to incite separatist sentiments was added to a cricketer's profile. ®

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