ICT development at the regional level – Corporations (Summary for the press)

02. 02. 2003.

Since 2001 GKIeNET Internet Research and Consulting Ltd. has been participating in a joint research project in cooperation with several research institutes in Western Europe within the framework of the EU-funded Regional-IST program (www.regional-ist.org). The first round of research in early 2003 investigated the ICT use of households, corporations and government sectors in certain regions of Europe.

The present summary outlines the results of the corporate survey in international regional comparison. The data for Hungary and Portugal pertain to the entire countries, given that their size makes them comparable to regions in the European Union.

Key findings:

  • In comparison to the other regions included in the survey (Baden-Württemberg, Catalonia, Piedmont, Portugal), Hungary’s lag in terms of the use of ICT tools is significantly smaller in the corporate sector than in the household segment.

  • Internet penetration in Hungarian companies with ten or more employees does not fall short of the corporate internet penetration in the participating Western European regions, except among small companies.

  • Web presence in the Hungarian corporate sector is at the same level as in the more developed regions, but the majority of Hungarian websites are still at an early stationary developmental stage.

  • One-fourth of businesses with over ten employees have carried out online sales or procurement transactions practically in all regions.

Detailed findings of the research project:

With respect to the use of ICT tools, Hungarian corporations have a significantly smaller lag behind the EU regions than households. By now, all large corporations in Hungary have internet access, just like their counterparts in Piedmont or Catalonia.

With an internet penetration rate of ‘only’ 93%, medium-sized companies (with 50-249 employees) have a smaller lag, unlike in Piedmont, for example. The gaps between countries are somewhat more significant in the category of small businesses (10-50 employees), but the majority of them already have internet access in Hungary. In terms of connection types, the prevalence of broadband connections is increasing rapidly in the Hungarian corporate segment; nevertheless, Hungary is significantly behind Catalonia and to a smaller extent behind Piedmont.

Percentage of companies with internet access
(by number of employees)

As far as the prevalence of company websites is concerned, firms in Hungary are at the same level as companies in the EU.

48% of firms with 10+ employees are present on the internet in Baden-Württemberg, compared with 49% in Hungary. Companies in Piedmont and Catalonia are in a somewhat better position with regard to internet presence, with rates of 70% and 55%, respectively, in the category of businesses with more than ten employees.

Web presence of businesses with 10+ employees (%)

The majority of corporate  websites are still at an early stationary developmental stage, however. 71-72% of the corporate web pages in Catalonia and Hungary and 80% of those in Piedmont are limited to the presentation of companies and their products, compared with 47% in Baden-Württemberg, where firms are more advanced in this respect: a higher percentage of companies have taken steps towards the application of online business solutions.

The majority of higher-level websites have interactive features, including tools to search for products or services. Hungary, Catalonia and Piedmont have a smaller percentage of websites with these capabilities (16%, 13% and 12%, respectively).

On average, 7-10% of the corporate websites offer electronic commerce services (e.g. online orders). In this respect, Hungary ranks similarly to other regions.

Corporate website types (%)

In Hungary, one-fourth of the companies with ten or more employees have sold or purchased products or services over the internet. Businesses in Piedmont have been somewhat less active in the area of online commerce, while in Catalonia 31% of all businesses have used the internet for sales or purchases.

Percentage of companies with 10+ employees using the internet for sales or purchases (%)

About the Regional-IST project

Research partners of GKI Economic Research Co. include:

Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain

Istituto Superiore Mario Boella, Italy

Fraunhofer-Institut für Systemtechnik und Innovationsforschung (ISI), Germany

Generalitat de Catalunya (IS Observatory – OBSI), Spain

Observatório das Ciências e das Tecnologias, Portugal

Politecnico di Torino, Italy

The purpose of this program is to analyze e-government and e-economy applications and to assess the use of information and communication technology at the regional (sub-national) level. Eventually, the project will gather and sort out the most effective assessment methods to evaluate the ICT infrastructure of regions.  Assessments at the regional level will provide an explanation for developmental differences within countries, in which the use of ICT  tools obviously plays a key role. Regional data are of particular importance to representatives of the business sector (investors, dealers, etc.) and government sector alike. For more information on this project, please visit www.regional-ist.org.


BW – Baden-Württemberg

CT – Catalonia

HU – Hungary

PI – Piedmont

PT – Portugal