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Germany

IT Industry Optimistic about 2004

Low German consumer demand didn't dampen the telecommunications branch's outlook for the year. A study Monday showed 58 percent of IT companies expecting an increase in business by the end of the year with another 21 percent saying the market would remain stable. The sector expects to grow at rate of 2.5 percent this year, with Internet, mobile communication and digital entertainment business putting in the most optimistic forecasts, according to the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM). Hardware manufacturers were most concerned about future growth, but even half of them expected better sales than 2003, Bitkom chief Willi Berchtold said.