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Tue, Nov 27, 2001 - Page 18 News List

CeBIT executive bullish on IT industry

Hubert Lange, a member of the managing board of directors at Deutsche Messe -- which operates CeBIT, one of the top information technology trade shows in the world -- spoke with `Taipei Times' staff reporter Dan Nystedt last week about the outlook for the IT sector



Taipei Times: How was CeBIT Shanghai this year?

Hubert Lange: We started in August this year with about 500 exhibitors, 11,000m2 and 25,000 visitors but next year, with the new grounds, we'll double those figures.

TT: A lot of people in Taiwan are nervous about the IT development in China, did you see any reason at CeBIT Shanghai for them to be nervous?

Lange: A lot of people from Taiwan were in Shanghai and I spoke with many of them. I would say Computex is an excellent show here in Taiwan and I think it will be excellent over the next few years. But, it is our target, our goal, to be number one in Asia.

So we have made an arrangement with the Shanghai government that will ensure we have enough space to grow over the next few years. We can expand to more than 200,000m2, far greater than any other trade fair in Asia. We took this name, CeBIT Asia, and we must be number one in Asia. That's our goal and we will do it.

TT: What about Shanghai itself?

Lange: I see Shanghai as a very large and growing market, not just in the IT industry but in all industries. I don't believe anyone knows the political situation, but I believe it will be stable in the next few years ... so I'm convinced there will be strong developments over the coming years.

TT: For next year's CeBIT shows, what will do you think will be the big products, or the most popular technologies?

Lange: We will know the new products or new solutions exhibitors plan to bring in January or February. The main things will be new products for the telecommunications industries -- like applications for mobile phones, UMTS -- but we will know more in January or February. You will also be able to access this information from the Internet in January. Of course, mobile commerce, new Internet solutions and electronic commerce are the main items.

TT: How has the IT slowdown affected CeBIT?

Lange: In the long run, the IT and telecommunications industries are going up; I'm convinced of this. At the moment, they have cut their marketing budgets. As a result, second and third [rate] trade fairs have also been cut, but not CeBIT. CeBIT is the industry's number one fair and they will spend even more promoting it.

This year we had 8,100 exhibitors and next year we will have 8,300. The size of the venue will go from 430,000m2 this year to more than 440,000m2 next year -- and we still have a waiting list. Comdex went down 20 to 25 percent, this year. If there is a crisis, companies target their marketing on the main events, so CeBIT is not suffering.

TT: What other factors are causing CeBIT to grow so fast?

Lange: No show is as complete as CeBIT and no show is as international. We have a network of representatives worldwide -- 70 in all. We hold 150 press conferences and presentations worldwide every year.

Look at the figures. We had more than 170,000 visitors in 2001; 34,000 people from East Asia visit CeBIT each year -- that's a lot of jumbo jets. We have over 13,000 journalists and 200 TV and radio stations -- that's more than the Olympic Games or the World Soccer Championships.

There are, as I mentioned, 8,300 exhibitors with 100,000 people manning the stands, and about 850,000 visitors will come addition to that. The big companies, like IBM and Siemens, will send 3,500 people from all over the world -- their personal staff and technicians -- not only for their exhibit but to look at what other companies are doing.

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