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Confident consumers likely to propel rise of nation's tech firms

By Meng Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2015-02-17 07:30

Increasing confidence in personal data security and rising disposable incomes in China offer local companies a "great opportunity" to become worldwide leaders in the new wave of consumer technology, according to consultancy Accenture Plc.

The firm's digital consumer survey showed that purchasing intentions in China are high and rising for traditional device categories such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, while those in other parts of the world are declining.

About 54 percent of the 24,000 respondents in 24 countries said they plan to buy smartphones in the next 12 months, down 4 percentage points from last year's survey.

However, in China, 82 percent of 1,000 respondents said they will buy smartphones this year, compared with 74 percent last year.

Consumers in the nation also led the world in purchasing intentions for new types of devices, such as smart watches and wearable fitness monitors, said the study.

David Sovie, the firm's Asia-Pacific leader for communications, media and technology, said that China has already beaten out the United States and Japan to become the early adopter for new types of connected devices.

One reason for Chinese consumers' purchasing plans is above-average confidence in personal data security: 54 percent in China compared with a global average of 46 percent.

Higher tolerance in sharing personal data with device producers is leading to higher purchasing intentions. For example, 73 percent of the Chinese respondents said they plan to buy smart watches within five years, compared with the 41 percent global average.

"There are also demographic advantages for China to become an early adopter. Generally speaking, better-educated people under the age of 35 tend to buy these new gadgets. China has a large group of well-educated young people and they are getting increasingly rich," said Sovie.

The Tokyo-based Sovie said Japan used to be the early adopter for new technology, but it has an aging population and a sluggish economy.

The advantage of the Chinese market has given local technology firms a great opportunity to become global leaders in the new wave of connected devices, said Ng Kuo Pin, head of communications, media and technology with Accenture for greater China.

"I don't see why Chinese players cannot become leaders in the new wave of consumer electronics," said Ng, adding that the world's largest smartphone market in China has made some Chinese headset producers into strong global players.

In terms of products, the gap between Chinese companies and those in the West is quite small. But in terms of brand recognition and the overall digital experience, Chinese players still lag the big names in the West.

"The true leaders in China will need to match the innovation and overall experience of a company such as Apple Inc to become a true global leader," said Sovie.

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