Wed, Jul 23, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Excitement for Computex builds

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

A worker from Tatung Co yesterday displays the company's latest ''shock-resistant computer'' during a press conference. The event was held to promote the upcoming Computex Taipei 2003 -- scheduled between Sept. 22 and Sept. 26.

PHOTO: CNA

The government and local business leaders yesterday showed optimism concerning Taiwan's information technology (IT) industry in the second half of the year, but urged companies to focus on applications integration to maintain their leading position in the global IT industry.

The remarks were made during a press conference held to celebrate Asia's largest computer trade show, the upcoming "Computex Taipei 2003."

"Companies are still quite interested in participating in the show, despite the delay from June to September because of the SARS outbreak," said Shea Jia-dong (許嘉棟), chairman of China External Trade Development Council, the event's co-organizer. "The trade show will be the largest ever to be held in Taiwan since it commenced two decades ago."

In addition to Taipei World Trade Center's exhibition halls No. 1 and No. 2, the council plans to open exhibition hall No. 3, which is located between the Grand Hyatt Taipei and the New York, New York shopping center. Hall No. 3 can accommodate another 400 booths for the show, Shea said.

In total, there will be 1,195 exhibitors setting up 2,471 booths for the show from Sept. 22 to Sept. 26. Last year, there were 1,108 exhibitors with 2,306 booths in the show.

Industry leaders were also delighted over the reinstatement of the trade show, saying the delay will do little to affect their business.

"Some of our customers may not be able to attend the event, but they can still place orders via video conferencing or by other means," said Jerry Wang (王文燦), vice president of BenQ Corp (明基電通), the nation's largest cellphone maker.

Taiwan is the world's largest supplier of motherboards and notebook computers, accounting for 90 percent and 60 percent of the market share for each, respectively. For the first five months of the year, Taiwan's IT export orders grew 29.21 percent from last year to NT$415.8 billion, according to statistics provided by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The ministry is due to announce last month's figures today at 4:00pm.

Despite the widespread optimism, one business leader expressed concern regarding Taiwan's IT development in the near future.

"Taiwan's IT industry is facing a historical watershed, as the supply of global IT products is exceeding demand," Wang Chen-tang (王振堂), president of Acer Inc, said at yesterday's press conference.

As a result of market saturation, many companies are slashing prices in an attempt to expand their market share, Wang said. However, the profit-margin may be too small to sustain either the companies or the industry, Wang warned.

To weather this predicament, Wang suggested that companies throughout the sector seek ways of further integrating their production, marketing and packaging to fulfill consumers' daily needs. For example, manufacturers can combine computers with communication and electronic devices to generate more added value, Wang said.

Wang also dismissed concern over competition from China, because half of the IT products exported from China were made by Taiwanese manufacturers, he said.

One analyst said that integration among small and medium scale companies is also needed.

"Taiwan needs to come up with bigger brand names to compete head-to-head with giants in this industry, such as Japan's Sony and South Korea's Samsung," Wang Jiann-chyuan (王健全), section director of the Chung-hua Institution for Economic Research (中經院), said.

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