Singapore: Almost half of personal computer users around the world get their software illegally, with China's massive market the worst culprit, a report claimed Wednesday.

A Business Software Alliance (BSA) survey showed 47 percent of PC users globally believe there is nothing wrong with using unauthorised copies of software programs.

This includes buying a single license for multiple installations or downloading programs from peer-to-peer networks, BSA said.

The survey of 15,000 PC users in 32 countries showed Chinese users have the most relaxed attitude to piracy.

As many as 86 percent of computer users in the country acquire their software illegally most or all of the time, the survey showed.

"The survey makes it clear that the global software piracy epidemic is spreading fastest in China, which is now the world’s biggest market for new PCs," said BSA president and Chief Executive Robert Holleyman.

The Washington-based BSA is an industry group that works for copyright protection and counts among its members some of the world's biggest technology companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Symantec and Adobe.

Pirated software installations cost the industry nearly USD59 billion globally last year, a BSA report said in May.

It said in terms of value, China was the world's second-largest culprit behind the US, installing USD7.78 billion of stolen programs last year.

The commercial value of pirate computer software used in the US was estimated at 9.5 billion, the BSA said in the May report.

(Agencies)