Asia's tech shows still beneficial for vendors

Despite economic climate, IT tradeshows and conferences remain viable as platform for vendors to reach out to audiences, say industry players.

SINGAPORE--Vendors still see tradeshows and conferences as a good platform to reach out to their audiences as well as showcase their products and technologies, say event organizers.

While the exhibition industry is not "spared" from the economic crisis, recording slight drops in size and attendance compared to last year, tradeshows such as CommunicAsia and BroadcastAsia retain their status as the largest exhibitions for Asia's media and infocomm industries, said Eric Yum, public relations manager for Singapore Exhibition Service.

The recently-concluded Comex 2009 clocked 710,000 visitors, which was similar to last year. But, the consumer tech show registered a 10 percent increase in sales to hit S$63 million (US$44.5 million), Melvin Koh, general manager of Eastern Directories, said in an e-mail interview.

The show also attracted 35 new vendors compared to the previous year, he said. Koh added that such conventions are retaining their value as a platform for vendors to showcase their gadgets and products to consumers at large.

Jorg Zeissig, managing director of LMI Asia, told ZDNet in a phone interview that conferences such as Games Convention Asia, held earlier this month, provide visitors and industries a glimpse into future trends and highlight how businesses can adopt these trends.

These conventions provide positive ROI (returns on investments), which can be tapped by vendors, added Zeissig.

Eugene Liew, country manager of consumer business at Lenovo Singapore, said visitors to such IT tradeshows are looking to purchase gadgets at bargain prices, "touch and feel" the latest gadgets or experience and look out for new technologies, all at a single location. Hence, Liew said such platforms are ideal for Lenovo to showcase their range of products.

Participating in tradeshows will continue to be an important part of the PC maker's marketing efforts, he told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail.

Different shows for different audience
While exhibitions remain ideal marketing platforms for vendors to reach out to their audience, Yum noted the need to differentiate the target audience for the various exhibitions. For example, CommunicAsia is a trade exhibition for the infocomm technology industries, while Comex is oriented toward consumers, he explained.

Asked about alternative platforms or efforts to promote Lenovo products, Liew noted that marketing campaigns cater to different business objectives such as increasing sales volume, raising awareness of new innovations, or building brand name.

In addition, he said campaigns held in conjunction with Singapore's seasonal demand, such as the country's Great Singapore Sale or Back to School sale, also help entice consumers to take note of the Lenovo brand.

Kohn added that IT is becoming a daily necessity in modern day lifestyle, be it at work, communication or entertainment. Thus, exhibitions showcasing technologies and gadgets will continue to appeal to the mass public, he said.

Based in Singapore, Konrad Foo is an intern with ZDNet Asia.