Asia well represented in Las Vegas at premier trade fair
Comdex, the technology trade show many regard as the most important event in the information technology calendar, opens next week in Las Vegas.
Held in several casinos and hotels, the show will be opened by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates on Sunday night in the 12,000-seat MGM Grand Garden arena.
A formidable line-up of speakers includes Oracle chairman Larry Ellison, Hewlett-Packard president Carly Fiorina, Michael Dell, chairman of Dell Computer, Ericsson president Kurt Hellstrom and EDS chairman Dick Brown.
The most unlikely keynote will be delivered by Ken Enders, vice-president of Mercedes Benz USA.
Comdex will showcase 2,300 companies, ranging from industry heavyweights such as Microsoft, Intel, EDS, Oracle, HP, Sony, Cisco, Toshiba, Dell and Palm Computing, to small Asian component-makers and e-commerce start-ups.
This year's first-time exhibitors include Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia, Handspring and Nortel.
Asian firms will be well represented, with pavilions from Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, India and Singapore. The largest contingent will be from Taiwan, which will showcase 50 manufacturers. The exhibition floors will be divided into key segments - networking, information appliances, publishing, e-commerce and software platforms.
On the sidelines of the main show, three junior expos will be held at the Sands Exposition and Convention Centre for application service providers, customer relationship management, and Linux.
Las Vegas is not a city for slackers. Although Comdex closes at about 6pm each night, the Adultdex 2000 conference in the nearby Tropicana Hotel is likely to draw many late-night conference-goers.
Adultdex claims to be the world's largest adult-entertainment expo, and pays special attention to Web content, e-commerce and digital entertainment.
The show will be open until 4 am and organisers expect more than 10,000 people a night. Comdex organiser Key3Media Events claims to have overcome the problems of recent years, when attendance and exhibitor numbers fell and key exhibitors including IBM pulled out.
Key3Media said sales rose fourfold this year, to 260,000 square feet of floor space, 100,000 sq ft more than the previous best in 1992.
The firm was ZD Events until it was returned to its shareholders by the collapsing Ziff-Davis empire this year.
Comdex will be held at the Sands Exposition and Convention Centre, the Las Vegas Convention Centre and the Las Vegas Hilton, although events will be held throughout the city.
It will run from Monday to November 17.
See technology.scmp.com for daily updates from the Comdex show floor
On the sidelines of the main show, three junior expos will be held