Thursday, October 11, 2012

Good times in Asia?

A UK researcher made a projection this month that Asian countries -- excluding Japan -- will be the largest market for machine vision systems in 2016.

According to John Morse, the author of the latest machine vision report from IMS Research (Wellingborough, UK), Japan has always been the largest market for machine vision in the Asia Pacific region. But despite this, Japan's economic growth is currently slow largely due to decreasing demand for its exports.

Morse says that this is not expected to improve much over the next five years, because Japan's leading position is being eroded as other countries within the region embrace automation in their production facilities.

Nevertheless, the report claims that the Asian region itself -- with the exception of Japan that is -- is collectively forecast to generate revenues from sales of machine vision systems that will exceed those generated in the Americas after 2012. This rapid growth is expected to continue -- revenues from the Asian region will even surpass revenues generated in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) after 2015.

The report projects that the strongest growth for machine vision systems will be in China, South Korea and Taiwan, reflecting the general economic growth forecast in these countries.

The latest outlook from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would appear to give a lot of credibility to the IMS report. The IMF is projecting, for example, that in Asia, growth in Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will average 6.7 percent in 2012, and is forecast to accelerate to 7.25 percent in the second half of 2012.

In its latest World Economic Outlook, unveiled in Tokyo ahead of the IMF-World Bank 2012 Annual Meetings, the IMF said that the advanced economies, however, were unlikely to fare as well.

In the US, growth will average 2.2 percent this year. Real GDP is projected to expand by about 1.5 percent during the second half of 2012, rising to 2.75 percent later in 2013.

In the Euro area, it's not even that rosy. There, real GDP is projected to decline by 0.4 percent in 2012 overall during the second half of 2012 with public spending cutbacks and the still-weak financial system weighing on prospects.

But despite the bright prospects that both IMS and the IMF have painted for the folks in Asia, I can't help but feel that -- with decreasing exports to the US and Europe -- they might just see their growth stunted too.

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