CES and Computex target different markets, and it would be foolish to consider a Chinese CES a threat to Taiwan’s flagship trade show.
Earlier this week the Consumer Electronics Association announced the international Consumer Electronics Show is coming to Asia. Shanghai, China will play host to the inaugural show scheduled for late May next year.
In the aftermath of the announcement, the thought on everyone’s mind was that this would be the “new” Computex. After this year’s show, which was marked by the sheer lack of announcements, some thought that it was time that Computex — often called the “CES of Asia” — had some competition. Considering the timing of CES Asia, right before Computex, many have said that this is an attempt to replace Computex as the dominant IT tradeshow in Asia.
This is not the case. While CES in Las Vegas and Computex share a number of vendors, there’s much that’s different about the two expos. Computex has a much more narrow focus; CES has a strong showing of consumer electronics and automotive companies while Computex is focused solely on computers and mobile. Computex is also a venue for companies to meet local OEMs and ODMs based in Taiwan. Sourcing is a big part of the show.
Now consider the city CES Asia is being held in. Shanghai is not Shenzhen. If the powers that be wanted to go after Computex they would put the show in China’s industrial heart of OEM and ODM.
But as China grows wealthier, and its home-grown companies such as Xiaomi (see: its new low-cost 4K TV) grow bigger and more competitive with their Japanese, Korean and Western counterparts, so grows the need for a large domestic trade show to showcase their products.
It’s very likely CES Asia will be less of a pan-Asia show and more of a China-focused affair. Most of the show will be in Mandarin and few press from outside of Asia will attend. But for an industry that has seen many trade shows go defunct, adding another to the mix — particularly targeting China’s growing economy — will be a welcome change.