Information Technology

Information Technology Production & Trade

This section discusses the current status and historical trends related to imports and exports in the IT industry. It covers trends for the industry in North Carolina, the U.S. and top competing states and shows North Carolina’s footprint in relationship to the U.S. industry and other states. This analysis is based on our NAICS-based definition of the IT industry using data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Division available on the USA Trade Online website. Links are provided to the underlying data in the form of interactive tables, charts and maps throughout this section.

Overview

Among the U.S. states, North Carolina is not among the most important importers or exporters of IT products. It is the 15th biggest exporter of IT products to the rest of the world, accounting for 1.5% of overall U.S. exports, and the 11th biggest importer of internationally produced IT products, accounting for 1.7% of U.S. imports. Like the rest of the U.S., North Carolina is a net importer of IT products (that is, imports exceed exports), spending about twice as much on imports as it sells in exports. This is not unusual, given the highly consolidated nature of the IT industries – particularly the hardware segments – in East Asia. (Reliable trade data is not available for trade in services, including software licensing, which is a major component the IT industries. It is likely that the position of both North Carolina and the U.S. would appear stronger if such data were available.)

Considering that North Carolina is the 10th most populous state in the U.S., representing 3% of the national population, North Carolina does not appear to be an especially large (or small) player in the IT industries. Meanwhile, Texas has been rapidly growing in prominence as a major exporter of IT products from the U.S., surpassing even exports from California in 2012, due primarily to a rapid increase in exports of computer equipment to the rest of the world.

North Carolina’s export position compared to other states is strongest in the semiconductors product category, where it is ranked 11th; North Carolina accounts for just over 2% of semiconductors exports from the U.S. With respect to imports, North Carolina is ranked most highly in the computer equipment category, where it is ranked #6 (3.1% of overall U.S. imports in this product category).

Whereas most U.S. exports are destined for the NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico, North Carolina’s largest export partner is Hong Kong. The NAFTA countries, in fact, have been declining in importance for North Carolina as export destinations, perhaps indicating that the state is becoming more strongly embedded in the large electronics value chains anchored in East Asia. Like the rest of the U.S., more than half of North Carolina’s imports of IT products (which, in both the U.S. and North Carolina are concentrated in the computer equipment product category) come from China alone. This is not surprising, given China’s position as a major exporter of IT products and other electronics. China occupies a prominent position in electronics industries as an assembler and exporter of final products, which are sourced from other countries such as Japan, Korea and the U.S. through highly coordinated value chains.

top

North Carolina
Present (2012)
  • Exports
    • In 2012 North Carolina’s total export value for IT products was roughly $2.195 billion (T6a).
    • Most exports ($1.223 billion or 55.7%) of North Carolina’s IT exports are accounted for by semiconductors. Computer equipment accounted for $622.1 billion in exports (28.1%), followed by communications equipment, which represented $306.8 million (13.9%). Software accounted for $29.6 million (1.3%) of exports, and magnetic & optical media for $14.5 million (0.6%).
    • Overall, exports in 2012 were relatively concentrated within three countries – Hong Kong, Canada and China (mainland) – which together accounted for more than half (54.9%) of North Carolina’s IT exports. Hong Kong received 21.9%, or $481.8 million of IT exports. Canada and China, respectively, account for $389.8 million (17.8%) and $333.1 million (15.2%) in export value (T6a).
    • Only two other countries imported more than $100 million in IT products from North Carolina. Germany received $112.1 million (5.1%), while Mexico received $109.2 million (5.0%) (T6a).
  • Imports
    • Total value for IT products imported into North Carolina in 2012 was $4.607 billion (T7a).
    • Imports of IT products into North Carolina were primarily concentrated within the computer equipment product segment, which accounted for $3.127 billion (67.9%). This is followed by semiconductors ($842 million or 18.2%); communications equipment ($585 million or 12.7%); magnetic and optical media ($53 million or 1.2%); and software ($0.3 million, virtually 0%).
    • China alone accounted for 53.9% ($2.485 billion) of all IT imports into North Carolina in 2012 (T7a).
    • The only other substantial exporter of IT products to the US is Mexico, which exported $1.182 billion (25.7%) to North Carolina in 2012 (T7a).
Historical Trends
  • Exports (2002-2012)
    • The share of total exports to Hong Kong has risen substantially; in 2002 it was 8%, rising to 21.9% in 2012. Meanwhile, total export value has only increased by 5% ($115 million) from 2002 to 2012 (T6a).
    • China and Germany also increased their share of North Carolina’s IT exports between 2002 and 2012, China from 3.7% to 15.2% and Germany from 4.3% to 5.1%. However the NAFTA countries Canada and Mexico reduced their share of North Carolina’s exports, from 24.0% to 17.8% and from 8.9% to 5.0% respectively (T6a).
  • Imports (2008-2012)
    • Total imports of IT products into North Carolina declined approximately $1 billion (18%) from 2008 to 2012, from $5.608 billion to $4.607 billion.
    • Nevertheless, import share by country did not change substantially over time. China’s share grew from 51.4% to 53.9%, while Mexico’s share grew from 22.6% to 25.7%.
    • During this time, the following major global exporters lost market share in North Carolina: Malaysia (3.1% to 1.1%), Singapore (2.7% to 0.6%), Canada (2.5% to 1.3%) and Japan (2.4% to 1.3%).

top

United States
Present (2012)
  • Exports
    • The total export value of U.S. IT products to all countries in 2012 was $143.9 billion (T6b).
    • Mexico is the largest importer of U.S. IT products, importing $31.6 billion (22%) of overall U.S. IT exports. Other major importers include Canada ($18.5 billion, or 19%), China ($8.6 billion, or 6%), Hong Kong ($7.4 billion, or 5.2%) and Malaysia ($5.7 billion, or 3.9%) (T6b).
  • Imports
    • Total U.S. imports of IT products, at $268.1 billion, exceeded imports by 86% in 2012 (T7b; T6b).
    • Most of U.S. IT imports come from China, which sends $137 billion (51.1%) in IT exports to the U.S.
    • Other important exporters of IT products to the US include Mexico ($34 billion, or 12.6%), Malaysia ($14 billion, or 5.3%), Taiwan ($14 billion, or 4.9%) and South Korea ($12 billion, or 4.6%) (T7b).
    • While China’s market share for IT products is nearly the same in both the U.S. (51.1%) and North Carolina, (53.9%), Mexico’s market share is much higher in North Carolina (25.7%) than in the U.S. overall (12.6%) (T7b).
Historical Trends
  • Exports (2002 v. 2012)
    • Total U.S. exports of IT products to the rest of the world grew 27% between 2002 and 2012, from $113.3 billion to $143.9 billion (T6b).
    • The concentration of U.S. exports of IT products to leading importer partners increased from 2002 to 2012. Among all trading partners, the share of IT exports to Mexico increased most substantially, from 16.0% to 22.0%. The share of IT exports also increased for Canada (12.5% to 12.9%), China (3.7% to 6.0%), Hong Kong (4.1% to 5.2%) and Brazil (1.9% to 3.6%) (T6b).
    • All other trading partners accounting for more than 2% of U.S. IT exports saw a decline in their share of exports decline (T6b).
  • Imports (2008 v. 2012)
    • Total imports of IT products to the U.S. grew 26.4% between 2008 and 2012, from $212.1 billion to $268.1 billion.
    • Both China and Mexico gained market share in North Carolina’s IT market from 2008 to 2012. China increased its market share from 39.5% to 51.1%, while Mexico increased its share from 10.8% to 12.6% (T7b).
    • All other countries saw their market share in North Carolina fall between 2008 and 2012 (T7b).

top

Top U.S. States
Present (2012)
  • Exports
    • In 2012, Texas was the leading exporter of IT products from the U.S. It exported $36.0 billion in IT products, accounting for 25.0% of total U.S. IT exports (T6c).
    • The second largest state producer in 2012 was California at $33.0 billion (22.9% of U.S. total), followed by Florida ($11.5 billion, or 8%). Other major exporting states include Oregon, New York and Arizona, each of which exported between $4 billion and $6 billion. (T6c).
    • North Carolina was the 15th largest state exporter of IT products from the U.S. in 2012 (T6c).
  • Imports
    • California and Texas account for the majority of U.S. imports of IT products in 2012. California imported $87.4 billion (32.6%), while Texas imported $60.1% (22.4%) (T7c).
    • Other important IT-importing states in the U.S. in 2012 were Illinois (7.0%), Tennessee (5.4%), Pennsylvania (3.8%), Florida (2.9%), Georgia (2.0%) and New York (2.0%) (T7c). All other states represented less than 2% of IT imports to the U.S.
    • North Carolina was the 11th largest state importer of IT products in 2012 (T7c).
Historical Trends
  • Exports (2002 v. 2012)
    • Texas increased its share of overall IT exports from the U.S. from 19.7% to 25.0% between 2002 and 2012. Among the top five exporting states, Florida and Oregon also increased their share of overall U.S. exports, from 5.1% to 8.0% and 3.6% to 4.1% respectively (T6c).
    • During this time, California’s share declined substantially, from 29.5% to 22.9%. Amon the top five exporting states, New York also saw its share decline, from 4.4% to 2.8% (T6c).
  • Imports (2008 v. 2012)
    • The share of U.S. imports of IT products to California, the top importing state, declined somewhat between 2008 and 2012, from 33.2% to 32.6%. Meanwhile, Texas (the top exporting state in 2012) increased its share of IT imports to the U.S, from 17.9% to 22.4% (T7c).
    • Import market share among other U.S. states was relatively stable. The only other state which saw an increase or decline of more than 1% market share between 2008 and 2012 was Pennsylvania, which increased its share of overall U.S. IT imports from 2.0% to 3.8% (T7c).

top

NC in the U.S. Economy
Present (2012)
  • Exports
    • Among all U.S. states, North Carolina is currently the 15th largest exporter of IT products to the rest of the world (T6c).
    • Compared to other U.S. states, North Carolina is the 11th largest exporter of semiconductors. This is the product category in which North Carolina’s export value is most highly ranked. Its lowest rank (18th) is in the magnetic & optical media product category.
  • Imports
    • Among all U.S. states, North Carolina is currently the 11th largest importer of IT products from the rest of the world.
    • Compared to other states, North Carolina is the 6th largest importer of computer equipment. This is the product category in which North Carolina’s import value is most highly ranked. It’s imports are ranked lowest in the semiconductors product category (19th).
Historical Trends
  • Exports (2002 v. 2012)
    • North Carolina’s share of overall IT exports from the U.S. to the rest of the world declined slightly between 2002 and 2012, from 1.8% to 1.5%, even as IT exports increased in absolute terms from $2.1 billion to $2.2 billion.
    • North Carolina’s position among U.S. states as an exporter of IT products fell from #12 to #15 during this time.
  • Imports (2008 v. 2012)
    • North Carolina’s share of overall IT imports to the U.S. declined from 2.6% to 1.7% between 2002 and 2012, reflecting an absolute decline in imports from the rest of the world, from $5.6 billion to $4.6 billion.
    • North Carolina’s position among U.S. states as an importer of IT products fell from #7 to #11 during this time.

top