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Smartphones, tablets key to Japan's growth

Publication Date : 19-07-2012


Smartphones and tablets could act as a "springboard to national economic growth", generate 7.2 trillion yen (US$91 billion) and create 338,000 jobs, the communications ministry said in its 2012 white paper on telecommunications.

According to the white paper, released Tuesday, most smartphone-generated economic growth is expected to come from outside the telecommunications industry--for example, retailing and service businesses. The direct impact from selling the devices, communication services and other related businesses is expected to reach about 3.7 trillion yen.

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry also analysed the economic backdrop of the domestic information and communications industry, which includes electronic appliance makers, and its delayed response to the growing smartphone market.

According to the analysis, Japanese makers manufactured various products in small quantities. However, South Korean tech giant Samsung, for example, focused on the global market during product development and therefore manufactured its products in large quantities, resulting in different product appeals and price competitiveness.

The white paper also said the domestic information and communications industry still hovers around 15th in world rankings for international competitiveness and other economic barometers, indicating the industry remains in a "stagnant trend".

Although Japan is a leader in terms of communication network infrastructure, such as optical fiber, the technology has yet to be widely used in the public sector and private firms--a major reason for stagnation, according to the white paper.

Affiliates, including electronics companies suffering from declining exports, also fell in the rankings, which has caused the industry to become "domestic demand oriented," the ministry said.

"Information technology is our economic growth engine as we work on issues related to reconstruction from last year's disaster," communications minister Tatsuo Kawabata said after a Cabinet meeting Tuesday. "Manufacturers have to work toward developing their businesses with an eye on the global market."


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