Top tech leaders and innovators to converge on Shanghai for Consumer Electronics CEO Summit

Inaugural Asian event to emphasise China's importance to global industry

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 March, 2015, 3:07pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 April, 2015, 2:20am

Top technology leaders and thinkers will meet in Shanghai next month for a major trade show and conference that will showcase the importance of the world's second-largest economy to the global technology industry.

The inaugural Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Asia will include the first CEO Summit and Board of Industry Leaders Meeting to be held in China.

The CES, from May 25-27, will be the first to be held outside the United States.

The Las Vegas event, held each January, helps to promote innovation and trends in areas including the "Internet of Things" - objects, including people, embedded with electronics that can exchange data with computer devices - 3D printing, robotics and wearables.

"We are bringing [an] elite group of technology executives to CES Asia to highlight the ever-increasing business opportunities in the thriving Asian marketplace," said Gary Shapiro, president and chief executive of the Consumer Electronics Association. "Executives will experience ground-breaking innovations hitting the Asian market."

The association's board includes senior-level executives of large technology companies such as Amazon, Sony and IBM.

More than 150 companies from 14 countries have already agreed to attend CES Asia.

"[CES Asia will be] a great platform for companies looking to grow and enhance their brand in China, as well as for smaller companies looking to get in front of a global media audience," John Kelley, CES Asia's show director, told the Post.

He said the make-up of the Shanghai show would differ from that of the Las Vegas event since many Chinese companies would be exhibiting for the first time, with global technology companies targeting local consumers.

Kelley said a "large global auto manufacturer" would be launching a new car, while "one huge tech company" was planning to use the event to rebrand itself.

"As the Asian marketplace grows in importance, more and more companies will put an emphasis on launching products specifically for this marketplace."

Winnie Tang, of Tetded, the Hong Kong device case maker, said her company wanted to take part to expand its Chinese consumer base. She said: "We want to explore the Chinese market and build our brand in China."

Kelley said Chinese and Asian participation in the CES in Las Vegas had been increasing annually, with almost 50,000 overseas visitors at this year's event.

"Talking to our membership, we constantly heard that there's a need to do a trade show in Asia, particularly in China," he said. "Time and time again we kept being pointed back to Shanghai, that's where we felt the need really existed."

Kelley said China's importance to the technology industry was growing. "From a Chinese perspective, you have a very large, growing middle class with more disposable income to spend on products," he said. "Companies realise the importance of that."

As well as the involvement of major international technology companies, the participation of start-up companies at the CES is also growing: 275 early-stage companies exhibited at January's show - up from 100 in 2012.

Yet the CES is not alone in its ambition to reach Chinese consumers and manufacturers on their home turf.

Re/code, the technology news website, will also host an Asia-focused industry event, "Code Conference/Asia", in Hong Kong in November.

Tencent, one of China's "big three" technology companies, is a founding partner of the event. Tickets will cost US$3,500.

Additional reporting by George Chen