The information technology sector appears to be weathering the economic storm better than most.
The sun always shines brightly on the IT industry regardless of economic or political conditions, with widespread consumption of IT products ensuring steady growth, says Ekachai Sirijirapatana, president of IT City.
With 40 branches in Bangkok and the provinces, the SET-listed chain is well positioned to gauge the direction of the IT retail trade.
First-quarter results underscore the optimism, as the company’s net profits grew to 41.4 million baht from 22.2 million in the same period last year. It even posted year-on-year growth in April, when the political temperature reached boiling point, partly because the same month in the previous year also saw mass rallies and political violence.
Growth should also be positive this month and next with the school holidays ending. However, Mr Ekachai expects results to be less rosy than the performance in the first quarter.
With the large number of red-clad neighbours not too far from the doorstep of its main branch at Pantip Plaza, IT City has been facing some tough challenges over the last few weeks.
“In recent weeks, as political problems rocked the city, it led to sales at Pantip Plaza dropping – but we are still able to grow because we have branches elsewhere,” said Mr Ekachai.
“Right now, if you go shopping anywhere you’ll notice that malls in suburban areas far from the protesters are attracting more people.”
However, the main driver of the industry is technological innovation. This year a big boost to sales has come with Intel’s introduction of a new family of processors that feature integrated graphics capabilities, complementing the advances made by Microsoft’s new Windows 7 operating system for PCs.