China has surpassed the US to become the world's number-one exporter of IT goods in 2004, according to an OECD report.

China exported $180 billion worth of information and communications technology (ICT) goods last year, including mobile phones, laptops and digital cameras, up from $123 billion in 2003. US exports grew at a slower rate, rising from $137 billion in 2003 to $149 billion in 2004.

The data also showed that the US imports more ICT goods from China than from any other source. China supplied 27 percent of ICT imports to the US in 2004, up from 10 percent in 2000.

Total worldwide trade by the US, including both imports and exports, remained higher than that of China. US world trade reached $375 billion in 2004, compared to $301 billion in 2003. China’s imports and exports were worth $329 billion in 2004, compared to $234 billion the year earlier.

The OECD figures showed that trade between China and other Asian countries is growing, while ICT imports to China and Asia from the European Union and the US is declining. China is now importing more components such as chips from other Asian countries.

But China is also building more components itself. Electronic components make up China’s second largest export item, after computers and related equipment.