By 2007, the number of Fortune Global 1000 companies that are not from the United States, Europe or Japan will triple, with at least five Fortune 100 companies being from China, according to Gartner, Inc.

The distribution of global business power will continue to disperse as developing nations further achieve the benefits of IT investments.

These findings were presented Tuesday, October 8, during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2002, which is taking place October 6 through 11 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

"IT will be prominent in the economic policies of more than one-half of developing nations and virtually all developed nations through 2007," said Dan Miklovic, vice president and research director for Gartner. "Countries looking to increase their economic stature must make IT growth part of their strategies and fund not only skills development but also infrastructure build-out to support service delivery on a global basis."

According to Gartner, governments will not create an IT industry on their own, nor can they afford to be responsible for the build-out of infrastructure. Through 2007, IT companies will invest more than $5 billion in developing economies through cash investments and foreign license fees.

"Companies that want to engage in multinational commerce must invest in the local IT community," said Miklovic. "Those types of investments bring Western software to some areas, while leveraging talent from those areas to create new products at lower prices for Western software buyers."

Businesses that intend to leverage and deploy IT globally must also understand the legal and social diversity in the various parts of the world as well as the opportunities and challenges associated with such diversity, Gartner indicated.

"Like anything else, IT is evolving differently in different parts of the world," said Miklovic. "As soon as businesses begin to use IT on a global scale, they become enmeshed with the political systems, languages, cultures, currencies, time zones and markets that are local to the various regions."

The impact of connectivity throughout the world is another important issue that affects IT globalization. For people in much of the world, access to a browser-based terminal is impossible, but handheld devices are growing at exponential rates.

"Critical to the success of operating globally is the understanding of underlying technology issues as well as the applications and services that businesses must deploy to conduct business-to-business and business-to-consumer commerce," Miklovic said.

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