GENEVA, March 11 (Xinhua) -- A new UN report Monday showed that demand for electronic components used in internet devices drove the trade value in international imports of information and communications technology (ICT) goods in 2017 to reach 2.1 trillion U.S. dollars.
The new figures released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) revealed that trade in ICT goods grew slightly faster than merchandise trade and represented 13.4 percent of the total in 2017.
"This is the first time that global ICT goods imports have rebounded since 2014, showing a good 6 percent annual growth and bringing a reprieve to the past two years of decline," said Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD's Technology and Logistics Division.
While China is by far the largest exporter of ICT goods, South Korea boasted the highest growth rate among the top 10 exporters in 2017, said UNCTAD.
The latest figures were, however, down from the 16.1 percent high during the dot-com boom in 2000 but the highest in two years.
By comparison, in 2017 machinery and transport equipment accounted for 37 percent and food for 8 percent of merchandise imports.
Among ICT products, trade in electronic components continued to expand with an annual growth rate of 8 percent.
The 2018 figure was just below that of computers and consumer electronics (9 percent) and it shows long-term, steady growth.
"The expansion of electronic components, which are the basic building blocks of electronic circuits and semiconductors, reflects the fact that more and more products and activities are going digital worldwide," said Sirimanne.
She said much of the trend could be associated with the advent of the Internet of Things, which has witnessed unprecedented growth since 2015 and the pattern could accentuate further in the coming years.