It has been a long road back from the valley of tech doom. We saw the first signs of a serious rebound this spring ("Why the tech turnaround looks real," May 5). Now, the tech-driven NASDAQ index in the U.S. is up about 20% for the year. Markets around the world are responding with their own nascent tech rallies. If this upturn is truly global, what does the future hold? BusinessWeek specialists, along with our sister company, Standard & Poor's, have been sifting through the data for weeks. In our annual Technology Special Report, we've identified four transforming trends: on-demand computing, the Wi-Fi revolution, Web services, and high-speed broadband. Our annual IT 100 list shows you who the new leaders are in these areas and many more.
For Asian readers, this closely watched compilation should have special significance. Asian companies make up nearly a third of the IT 100. These are the outfits that weathered the most severe tech storm in history. Most survived not by reaching for a radical new strategy but by digging in and doing what they do even better.
The team that produced this year's Annual Report includes the folks who cover these companies week in and week out, traveling from our six bureaus in the region to Asia's tech centers: Hsinchu, Taiwan; Bangalore, India; Daeduck, South Korea; and Pudong, China. They include Asian technology writer Bruce Einhorn in Hong Kong; Tokyo science writer Irene Kunii; Bombay Bureau Chief Manjeet Kripalani; Singapore Bureau Chief Michael Shari; and Seoul Bureau Chief Moon Ihlwan. Overseeing the project were Asian editor David Rocks, a former tech writer himself, and New York-based tech editor Heather Green.
Besides identifying the shape of the recovery, this report delivers big news about the heavy investment going into research & development. Sony is spending $3 billion on new chips for the digital home; Nokia is shelling out the same on a new array of mobile phones; and IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Sun Microsystems are spending lavishly on systems that sell computing power as a service.
Will tech be the driving force for growth it was in the last decade? For now, big players will dominate this upswing, but at some point, the entrepreneurial spirit that infuses long tech cycles is likely to rise again. The kind of spontaneous innovation that results can come from anywhere in the world. When it happens, look to us to bring you stories on these upstart companies as well, complete with an evaluation of how they measure up on the global stage. It's what our brand of journalism is all about.
By Bob Dowling, Managing Editor, International