The market is benefiting hugely from businesses' austerity drive which includes enhanced collaboration and reduction in travel costs.
Revenues in Asia-Pacific rose 24.9 percent in 2008 and are expected to grow a further 26.3 percent this year, reaching a market size of US$123.1 million by end-2009. Growth of the sector, which includes hosted services/SaaS (software-as-a-service) and on-premise Web conferencing software, is expected to peak over the next two years, clocking growth rates of 27 percent in 2010 and 2011.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (conferencing.frost.com), Asia-Pacific Web Conferencing Software and Services Market, finds that the market - covering 13 Asia-Pac countries - earned revenues of US$97.4 million in 2008 and estimates this to reach US$391.8 million by end-2014, at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 26.1 percent (2009-2014).
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"Rising concerns about communicable diseases and carbon footprints have encouraged not only multinational enterprises with offices in Asia, but also local companies, both small and large, to invest in Web conferencing," says Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Pranabesh Nath.
"On-premise software has a strong following in Japan, China and South Korea, while SaaS solutions are favoured in Australia, India and Southeast Asian nations," he adds.
Owing to the wide range of customers, Web conferencing needs to evolve to address the challenges of both very large and small business users. This usually means providing a 'no-frills', first-rate and competitive service for small companies, and an integrated set of services that may comprise video, messaging, mobile integration, online Web meetings and audio conferencing integration.
"Companies that deploy Web conferencing expect simplicity, reliability and ease-of-use as the most important features," notes Nath. "Recently, however, integration with audio conferencing, high-quality webcam-based video and mobile connectivity are becoming increasingly important in Asia-Pacific."
Integration of the desktop with video, using a webcam, is an important feature for users in markets like China, Japan and South Korea, where local vendors adequately offer such solutions in addition to catering to local tastes and cultures. Such pure-play on-premise Web conferencing solutions have seen greater uptake in these markets compared to bundled solutions that integrate multiple collaboration applications such as messaging, presence and telephony.
However, for a growing section of the customers elsewhere in the region, the simplicity and ease-of-use of SaaS services provided by major global vendors such as Cisco-WebEx have proved to be a huge attraction, and this has led to the explosive growth of SaaS services in Asia-Pacific.
"For all its potential, the awareness about the benefits of Web conferencing among potential customers is still lacking. The prospects for the Web conferencing software and services market are vast, as the solutions are typically inexpensive for most companies and retail users," Nath says.
"Growth in some parts of the region however has been somewhat limited as key telecom providers have responded tepidly to offering Web conferencing as a value-added service, thus resulting in slower indirect sales for the vendors," he continues.
Nath believes that Web conferencing vendors will need to seamlessly integrate telecom providers and other channels into their sales strategy to boost adoption.
The Asia-Pacific Web Conferencing Software and Services Market study is part of the Conferencing & Collaboration Growth Partnership Service program, which also includes research in the following markets: telepresence, video conferencing endpoints, video conferencing infrastructure, audio and video conferencing services, enterprise social networks and online shared workspaces. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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