Computex show sets a record

The Computex computer show opened today after it was postponed in early June because of SARS. The virus hit this country in much the same way it did Toronto, Canada’s largest city. The only difference: events like Comdex Canada have been shelved until next year, while Computex may set new records for

exhibitors and number of booths.

Asia’s largest computer show, Computex this year boasts a total number of 1,248 exhibitors. This is an increase of 5.4 per cent since last year. These exhibitors will showcase 2,430 booths, an eight per cent increase from 2002. That’s because Taipei’s World Trade Center has expanded to serve an additional 500 booths this year. According to Computex show organizers, this year’s show will surpass the Comdex/Fall event in Las Vegas.

Last week at the 14th Annual Resellers’ Choice Awards, held in conjunction with a MediaLive event at a downtown Toronto hotel, a source close to MediaLive, which now runs Comdex, told that the Comdex Fall show doesn’t even have 10 major companies confirmed two months before the event is to start.

One of those firms is BenQ, which last year had close to 5,000 visitors to its booth and was deemed a big success by the company’s management.

BenQ will still be in Las Vegas during Comdex, but will be located at another hotel on the strip and not at the actual convention center. Other longtime Comdex exhibitors such as NEC/Mitsubishi, ViewSonic and Maxtor also had separate off-site events during Comdex Fall last year.

Taiwan is referred to as the island of technology, and while show organizers still do not have attendance figures in yet, I can attest that this show is literally jammed with people. Walking the aisle is a major challenge. Seeing every booth will take a week, which is exactly how long the show lasts.

Comdex Fall, of course, also lasts a week, but I was able to see all the booths in one day last year. There’s also the fun element: BenQ held a press conference today to announce they have a theme song called BenQ: I’m crazy for you. The song was composed by IPIS, which when translated into English means “”cockroach.””

One of the major complaints at Comdex is that the industry no longer requires a general trade show. Critics argue the industry is looking for more events that are focused and add value. Judging from the Computex show, that kind of complaint doesn’t hold any water. This show is as general as you can get.

I have met Computex attendees from places like Australia, which is only an eight-hour flight from Sydney to Taipei. I have also met attendees from Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. These attendees have traveled more than 25 hours and across an international dateline to come here. They could have cut their travel times in half by simply going to Comdex in Las Vegas, but instead they come to the other side of the world. They’re not the only ones who have realized it’s worth the trip.

Paolo Del Nibletto is the editor of Computer Dealer News.

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