Fri, May 02, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Exhibitors welcome delay of Computex

SIGH OF RELIEF CETRA took a poll which indicated less than 10 percent of the trade shows exhibitors wanted to go ahead with the annual Taipei tech fest

By Bill Heaney  /  STAFF REPORTER

Exhibitors were unified yesterday in applauding the decision to cancel June's Computex Taipei computer show, saying the meet will fare better after fears about the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) have abated.

"We think it's a good decision to postpone Computex," said Alan Pan (潘泰吉), a general manager at electronics giant Tatung Co (大同).

Tatung normally books a large exhibition space on the ground floor of the Taipei International Convention Center.

The show was axed Wednesday after a poll by the organizers, the China External Trade Development Council (CETRA) and the Taipei Computer Association, showed that less than 10 percent of exhibitors were in favor of going ahead with this year's show. And with SARS fears going well beyond exhibition halls, manufacturers heaved a sigh of relief.

"We're concerned about the public's health, so we support this decision," said Stephanie Tsai (蔡瓊文), senior public relations manager at computer-display maker ViewSonic International Corp.

"We originally wanted to take part in Computex, but when surveyed we suggested that CETRA cancel this year's show," said Alex Hsieh (謝博明), a marketing manager at industrial computer manufacturer ICP Electronics Inc (威達電).

Companies yesterday played down potential losses as a result of the rescheduling of Asia's largest computer trade show.

"The impact on our business operations will be minimal [as a result of the postponement] as our customer base has been established for a long time and we are using videoconferencing, which our customers feel is a good contingency plan," Pan said.

Computex normally offers Tatung strong product exposure with potential new clients from overseas and if it took place at the beginning of next month as planned, fears over SARS would seriously reduce the number of foreign visitors.

"In the present climate, Computex would not be a very good marketing prospect," Pan said.

"This impacts all businesses, not just ours," said Tsai. "We had some special offers that we wanted to introduce to our channels at Computex. We will still offer them, but directly now."

Visitors from China were expected to make up a large part of the overseas visitors to Computex this year, many looking to tie up with Taiwanese companies in manufacturing ventures across the Taiwan Strait.

A compulsory 10-day quarantine imposed on visitors from seriously affected SARS areas like China and Hong Kong would have hampered Computex, leading to the decision to put off this year's show. Companies like industrial computer maker ICP are not dependent on buyers.

"We will feel very little impact from the decision to postpone Computex as our manufacturing is here in Taiwan and all our customers are in Europe and America," said Hsieh.

The Board of Foreign Trade has suggested companies burn their most recent catalogs onto disks and send them to potential customers after the show was canceled. In addition, local telecommunications provider, Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信), is expected to reduce its teleconferencing fees by 40 percent so that companies can meet with customers via conference calls to discuss orders, the board said in a statement Wednesday.

Exhibitors scorned the idea yesterday.

"The quality, not the cost, of conference calls, is important," Pan said. "We'll pay for a premium service."

The government decision was nothing new, Hsieh said. "We already send our catalogs on disk to clients and use e-mail and telephone calls as much as possible," said Hsieh. "This is not a new suggestion."

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