Asia Pacific to see higher growth for Bio-IT market

Lionel Binns, manager of life science programme office at HP in Britain said: “If you look at the interest generated in biology in the last 12 years, especially in the human genome project, you will begin to understand why we see there is a market in the life sciences industry. 

“Biology will drive the development in the computer industry over the next 20 years in the same way physique and chemistry drove the industry for 20 years in the mid-1990sBut all the systems will mean nothing if the applications are not able to run on the systems.”  

He estimated HP's annual hardware business in the life sciences industry from 2002 to next year is around US$1.8bil to US$2bil. The new Itanium servers, released earlier this month, would be the winning product in the life sciences industry.  

According to International Data Corp Asia Pacific, the bio-IT market, the market where information technology converges with life sciences, will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24%, reaching nearly US$38bil globally by 2006.  

HP sees the US as the largest market followed very closely by Europe.  

“Those two markets are very similar in nature and way ahead in the world now,” he said, adding that the third largest market was Japan.  

“Where the growth will come is in the Asia Pacific. The winners in the market are going to be the countries that are going to grow and move rapidly. The obvious sheer size of China and potentially India could be lucrative markets, however, both countries would be galvanised by bureaucracy. Malaysia, Singapore and Australia would become the leading life sciences research institutes in Asia Pacific. South Korea would like to be in the game but they are not quick enough,” Binns commented.  

However, HP will face its biggest competitor IBM in the race to clinch the hardware market in the life sciences industry.  

“It is more difficult to stay number one than to become number one. Our biggest competitor is, of course, IBM who is trying to make sure we don't stay number one anymore but they are going to face a tough fight from us.  

“Any price reduction will affect profitability. Price wars will make it very difficult for everyone as it will affect profitability. However, the advances that we have made in improving our supply chain in order to stay ahead in the game will ensure we remain competitive,” he added. 

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