Software piracy is a problem worldwide, but it is particularly endemic in China, according to a survey by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), an advocacy group representing software development firms across the globe.
The survey estimates that last year the software industry suffered $11.8 billion in losses worldwide due to piracy. Of this total, China accounted for $1.12 billion, or 9.5%.
Not only is the rate of software piracy high in China, it is getting worse. The BSA calculated a “piracy rate” for each country, defined as the “volume of software pirated as a percentage of total software installed.” According to this measure, China had a piracy rate of 94% last year, up from 91% in 1999. The average rate worldwide is 37%, up from 36% in 1999.
Despite the unflattering results of this survey, China was not found to be the worst offender. Vietnam had the highest rate of piracy—97%, down from 98% in 1999—and the United States reported the highest losses due to software piracy—$2.6 billion in 2000.
Comparing regions, Eastern Europe fared the worst, with an overall piracy rate of 63%, while North America did the best, at 25%. The Asia-Pacific region reported the highest losses due to piracy, $4 billion, while the Middle East lost the least amount of money—less than $500 million.
The world as a whole became more piratical, in the BSA’s estimation. “For the first time in the study’s history, the world piracy rate in 2000 did not decline, but instead showed a slight increase,” the report noted.
The report estimated that one in every three business software applications worldwide was bogus.