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Asia infotech trade surged in financial crisis-UN

GENEVA (Reuters) - Asian exporters of computer and communications equipment in 2009 boosted their grip on the sector during the global financial crisis and now hold two-thirds of the trade, figures issued on Wednesday showed.

Asian exporters had 66.3 percent of world sales in the sector in 2009 -- the latest year for which data are available -- up from 63.8 per cent in 2008, according to the statistics, from the United Nations' trade and development agency UNCTAD.

UNCTAD did not have any data for 2010 or any forecasts.

The figures also showed that thanks to firms like computer maker Lenovo, China is by far the largest exporter of information and communications (ICT) goods with Hong Kong, a conduit for Chinese products, in second place. Together they account for 33 percent of world sales.

According to UNCTAD, almost all major ICT producers in East and West sold less abroad in U.S. dollar terms in 2009, as the crisis was biting into world consumer confidence and slashing incomes in rich and poor nations.

But overall China and other Asian economies -- like Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Philippines -- did better in holding onto their market share than the United States or European countries in ICT trade.

The United States, the third largest global exporter in the sector, saw revenues fall from $138 billion in 2008 to $113 billion in 2009, while the value of Chinese sales dropped from $396 to $356 billion, UNCTAD said.

(Editing by Jonathan Lynn and Jon Hemming)

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