Potential of High-Tech Industries Yet to Be Realized
Economy, Business And Markets

Potential of High-Tech Industries Yet to Be Realized

Technological advances in recent years have led to the growth of high-tech industries which have direct impact on the economy, particularly in developed countries. High-tech sectors and enterprises are known to be key drivers of economic growth and productivity as they generally provide high value added and well-paid employment.
A report published by the Iranian Parliament’s Research Center (PRC) two months ago, studies the role of high-tech industries in Iran’s economy and the sector’s growth over the past decade, Persian daily Forsat Emrouz reported.
According to the report published by the Office for Energy, Industry and Mine Studies of PRC, over the past decade the export of high-tech products, which stood at 1% in some years, has been insignificant compared to the country’s overall industrial exports.
The report also indicates that the export of high-tech products and services has been declining over the past years, falling from 1.5% of total industrial exports in 2005 to merely 0.73% in the previous Iranian year (March 21, 2013- March 20, 2014) and 0.56% during the first seven months of the current year (to end March 20).
Based on the report, Iran’s export of high-tech products experienced a peak in 2011, standing at an estimated total value of $217.4 million, while the figure dropped in the following two years to $177 million and $184.7 million in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
The figures reflected in the report indicate that high-tech industries in Iran have not assumed their due role in the economy. While Iran’s export of industrial products has grown over the past decade, the high-tech sector has not experienced similar growth, remaining limited only to certain industries such as the pharmaceutical products.
High-tech expert and university faculty member, Farzad Aria says while high-tech courses are offered in Iran’s universities, most graduates cannot find jobs related to their academic fields.
High technologies can be adopted in the electronics industries, computer-aided design and manufacturing including the production of electronics equipment, telecommunication devices and integrated circuits, said the expert, adding that advanced engineering and optical materials such as composites, advanced polymers and lasers, biotechnology and industrial automation are among other sectors that could benefit from high-tech industries.

 Economic Feasibility
As an important feature of the high-tech sectors, the expert underlined the importance of interaction with the global business ecosystem to expand the market for advanced and high-tech products in order to render their developments economically feasible, noting that the domestic market does not have sufficient capacity to justify large-scale manufacturing of such products.
“Stiff competition between firms in developed countries, demand for high quality products and services, the need for precise instruments and advanced technical knowledge and the fast changes in technologies” were mentioned by the expert as some other features of high-tech industries.  
Noting that the use of high-technologies in Iran is limited only to a few sectors such as pharmaceuticals, the expert said even these sectors face many difficulties and experience very slow growth.
“The authorities should pay more attention to the high-tech industries, as it would not only help the country recover from the prevailing recession in the industrial sector, but investing in high-technologies would also lead to higher revenues in a relatively short span of time,” he concluded.

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