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EE Times-Asia Salary and Opinion Survey reveals mixed fortunes for Asia's engineers

Hong Kong, October 23, 2003 - Global Sources Ltd. (Nasdaq NM: GSOL) today released the results of its Electronic Engineering Times-Asia (EE Times-Asia) 2003 Annual Salary and Opinion Survey. This survey compares and contrasts salary ranges within engineering communities and distinguishes trends in compensation practices across Asia.

Commenting on this year's survey, Mark A. Saunderson, publisher of EE Times-Asia, said: "Optimism within Asia and China's electronics industry is increasing as more international technology companies shift their production and design operations to the region. Career opportunities for engineers in Asia are on the rise. In comparison to North America and Europe where engineering salaries remained flat in 2003, response to the survey in Asia shows a general increase in average salaries."

The survey was part of a synchronized global research initiative in association with EE Times-Asia's sister publications in both the U.S. and Europe. In the Asia-Pacific region, the survey was conducted in four languages – English, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese and Korean – and drew responses from over 1,000 electronic engineers from more than 10 Asian countries, including mainland China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and India. Analysis of the response is intended to provide the region's engineers with a complete set of benchmarks on which to base important career decisions, and provide hiring companies with increased visibility into current compensation practices.

"Mainland China remains at the forefront of the global electronics industry, with electronics production forecast to reach US$234 billion this year. The robustness of this market is driving demand for new engineering talent. We are now seeing an influx of younger, more dynamic engineers in the marketplace, a trend that is evident in this year's survey results. With increased participation from this group, the average age of mainland engineers who responded dropped below 30 for the first time since the annual survey commenced in 2001," added Mr. Saunderson.

Results of this year's survey show that average engineering salary levels in mainland China remain the lowest in the region at US$7,389 per annum. In Taiwan, engineering salaries remained relatively flat at US$18,120 per annum in 2003. However engineers in South Korea continue to receive higher salaries than their peers elsewhere in the region and the gap is widening. The average salary in South Korea is $25,237 per annum in 2003, up 17 percent from a year ago.

Fifty-four percent of Asia-Pacific engineers surveyed received a performance-related bonus over the past 12 months, compared to 38 percent in 2002.

In general, engineers in the Asia-Pacific region worked shorter hours for their salaries in 2003 as compared to 2002. Engineers in South Korea continue to work the most hours per week at 54 hours compared to 56 hours in 2002. Elsewhere in the region, Taiwan engineers worked an average of one hour less per week than last year at 51 hours, while mainland engineers worked the least hours at 47 hours per week, a drop from 49 hours in 2002.

A complete analysis of the 2003 Annual Salary and Opinion Survey results is available online in PowerPoint format at http://www.eetasia.com/MISC/SALARY2003.PPT.

Click here to view selective slides.

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