Gartner senior research analyst, Matthew Cheung said this growth was remarkable considering in the fourth quarter of 2008, global economies began to feel the impact of the credit crunch and the global economic downturn.
“Double digit growth in a challenging economic climate confirms that security remains a key priority for Asia Pacific CIOs and IT security leaders.”
According to Gartner, data security and privacy, along with the need to protect IT infrastructure from the “ever increasing rise in sophisticated and targeted attacks in Asia Pacific”, were among the key drivers fueling the growth of IT security software spending, and for organisations operating in mature markets such as Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong, compliance was a major driver.
Cheung said the secure Web gateway (SWG), security information event management (SIEM) and e-mail security market segments demonstrated the highest growth at 48 percent, 31.1 percent and 29.4 percent, respectively.
Consumer security and enterprise endpoint protection remained the two largest sub-segments of the Asia Pacific security market in 2008, totaling US$1.08 billion, according to Cheung.
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Gartner said that in 2008, the largest security markets in Asia Pacific were - in order - China, Australia and South Korea, with China, Indonesia and Vietnam the most dynamic, achieving over 30 percent growth.
As the biggest security market in Asia Pacific, Cheung said China had the fastest growth of 39.4 per cent, which he attributed to the high growth of local security players, such as Rising and Kingsoft, the heavy spending on Olympic Games in 2008 and the rapid increase in foreign investments. Other drivers included the modernisation of IT infrastructure and domestic demand in the country.
Cheung also said that the top five vendors held nearly half of the market at 47.8 percent, and the combined top five vendors' market share was gradually falling in favour of smaller players, “a sign that security remains a dynamic market where smaller players, new entrants and specialist vendors rise to become an effective challenge to the established leaders.”
According to Gartner, Symantec continues to be the market leader, accounting for 22 percent of security software revenue in Asia Pacific in 2008. However, the company's market share was down from 2007 when it accounted for 22.8 per cent of the market.
Gartner reports that McAfee experienced the strongest growth rate among the top five vendors, as its revenue increased 30.1 percent in 2008. Local players from China exhibited the highest levels of growth in 2008, according to Gartner, with other fast-growing vendors in the region including McAfee and Cisco.
Emerging markets in Asia Pacific are expected to provide the highest growth opportunities over the coming years, although according to Gartner, the more mature markets are expected to provide sustainable levels of investment.
Gartner says that purchasing attitudes point to an increase in popularity in security products delivered as software as a service (SaaS) or as an appliance, particularly for certain technologies such as e-mail security and SWG, and the firm estimates for 2009 predict that security will produce good growth levels, “although the full impact of the global economic recession will result in a decrease in spending and the fall of growth rates to around half the levels achieved in 2008.”