Power Electronics

Asia Utility Meter Market Could Reach $3.5 billion in 2009

In a report from IMS Research, “The Asia Market for Utility Meters & AMR Systems,” the Asian utility meter market is forecast to grow strongly in the next five years, producing shipments of 170 million units in 2009, worth around $3.5 billion. The report attributes this new growth surge to strong economic growth, rising energy consumption and heating reforms in parts of Asia. Average meter prices also are forecast to improve steadily as newly privatized utilities source higher quality intelligent meters.

According to the report, Asia is already the largest producer and consumer of utility meters in the world, and will experience the highest growth. Electronic meters will continue to erode the market for mechanical products, especially in the electricity meter segment, offering strong growth opportunities for electronic component manufacturers.

Jon Gamble, senior analyst at IMS Research, remarked that utility metering is a mature, slow growth, commodity market in Europe and America, and that market opportunities in Asia will decide the leading global meter suppliers of the future. He also noted that major Chinese companies and international joint ventures are already producing top-quality products at highly competitive prices.

The report forecasts China as a major growing market for utility meters in Asia over the next five years. Though its electricity meter market is virtually saturated following the one-household, one-meter initiative of the last decade, improving meter prices are anticipated as residential and industrial energy consumption continue to rapidly increase, necessitating better quality meters. Demand will be further boosted as China enacts a heating reform bill, which will require metering equipment.

The report found the Asian market is particularly challenging for non-Asian companies. In countries such as Japan and Australia, special standards and strong established local suppliers make market penetration by new suppliers difficult and keep prices high. In countries such as China, the pervasion of poor quality, low-cost meters makes it difficult for Western companies with relatively high cost infrastructures to make an adequate return on investment. However, many foreign companies are forming joint ventures and partnerships with local Asian companies to leverage the benefits of low-cost manufacturing, to access the market and position themselves to take advantage of Asia’s high growth potential.

IMS Research’s 400-page report, “The Asia Market for Utility Meters & AMR Systems,” provides a detailed analysis of the Asian utility meter market. The report includes analyses and forecasts for electricity, gas, water and heat meters by 24 utility meter product subcategories, which are presented individually for eight geographic territories. Forecasts also are provided for the penetration of AMR systems by utility sector and geographic region. Market share estimates (based on unit shipments) are presented separately for electricity, gas, water and heat utility meter manufacturers, with summary profiles on approximately 140 companies. A chapter analyzing the market for semiconductors and key electronic components in utility meters also is optionally available.

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