CES Asia

China to replace US as world's top consumer tech market, says CES chief

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 May, 2015, 12:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 May, 2015, 12:31pm

China is expected to become the number one market for consumer technology in 2016, overtaking the United States, thanks to both strong local buying power and the rapid development of homegrown innovation, said a top industry executive at the opening of the inaugural CES Asia in Shanghai.

Gary Shapiro, president and chief executive of the Consumer Electronics Association, the organiser of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), one of the world's most closely watched technology and innovation events, held every year in Las Vegas, described Shanghai as a "city for the future" during a keynote speech at CES Asia on Monday, the first time the event has been held outside the US.

Shapiro, citing industry data and estimates, said the size of the consumer technology market in China, the world's second largest economy, will grow by around 5 per cent to US$281 billion this year, most likely overtaking the US as a the primary market for consumer technology goods by 2016.

"Chinese companies are increasingly focusing on innovation and building on their extraordinary strength in manufacturing," he said.

"China is essential to the growth worldwide of the consumer manufacturing industry."

This forecast will delight Chinese officials, with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang's administration keen to transform the Chinese economy into a more domestic consumption-driven model, away from its reliance on government-led investments and exports.

Li has been pushing his "internet plus" agenda to encourage Chinese tech entrepreneurs and innovators, helping the government drive job creation as the Chinese economy faces the slowest growth pace in more than a decade.

Shapiro highlighted Chinese consumers, becomes more tech-savvy and increasing in wealth after decades of strong national economic growth, and fast-growing domestic technology firms such as e-commerce giant, as the two main drivers for the expansion of the consumer technology market in China.

He also described how international tech firms, such as long-standing industry leader Intel and emerging business leader Twitter – both with senior executives in Shanghai for CES Asia this week – could join the fast development of the Chinese tech market and help domestic firms promote their brand and business worldwide, one of the primary reasons many Chinese tech firms joined the conference as founding exhibitors and partners.

Additional reporting by James Griffiths