Computer Global Market
Insights and Opportunities
Overview: The following factors are responsible for the positive outlook of this sector in Panama: Office automation is a growing trend in both the public and private sectors; Import duties for computers (average 7% over CIF value) are relatively low; There are many accessible computer suppliers both locally and abroad, particularly in the Miami area; There is a growing computer culture, which resulted from government programs aimed at increasing the use of computers/Internet, and modernization of existing systems in government offices as well as in public schools.
There is a close connection with the U.S., particularly among young Panamanians who have gone to U.S. schools or look with favor on the social networking culture. Internet services, computer magazines, journals, and other literature from the U.S. are widely available.
Computer products from the U.S. are well received and are perceived as incorporating state-of-the-art technology. The U.S. has a strong position in this market with a market share over 60%. Prices for U.S. computers and peripherals are competitive against products from Korea, Taiwan and Japan. The most promising end users are banks, commercial establishments, universities, the Panama Canal, and government organizations.
Opportunities: Best prospects are personal computers, LAN equipment, laptops, and laser printers.
The government is a major computer user. It has been committed to increasing use and modernization of computer systems and has promoted the Internet access for most of the population. The Panama Canal and the banking sector are also important buyers of computer equipment and are always current with technology. The Panama Canal has set a high standard for the rest of the government by publicizing all public tenders, both upcoming and awarded, in a fully searchable database that is web-accessible to the public.