Record visitor numbers expected at Computex '06

Asia's largest IT extravaganza will see more than 130,000 visitors converge in Taiwan for all things IT.
Written by Aaron Tan, Contributor

The number of visitors to Computex Taiwan is expected to surpass 130,000 this year when the doors to the world's second largest IT trade show opens Tuesday.

According to event organizers, last year's show attracted 129,947 visitors, the highest turnout in its 25-year history. This year, some 133,000 visitors are expected to pack four halls of the Taipei World Trade Center and Taipei International Convention Center.

Like previous years, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council and the Taipei Computer Association (TCA) are co-organizing the event.

Since its inception in 1981, the trade show has touted itself as a platform for IT vendors in Taiwan to showcase their products. Today, the closely-watched event is the world's second-largest IT trade show after CeBIT in Germany, and maintains its status as Asia's largest IT event.

TCA Chairman Frank Huang said the show has grown with Taiwan's information technology industry over the past decades.

"That Computex has replaced Comdex as the world's second largest IT show demonstrated two things," he noted, in a statement. "First, it showed to the world Taiwan's strength in IT design and manufacturing and, to a larger extent, the emergence of Asia as the world's leader in information."

He also pointed out that Taiwan's IT companies have evolved from original design and equipment manufacturers to some of the world's most famous brands.

Acer, no doubt, is one such company that Huang had in mind.

With an early focus on product design and educating Taiwan's next generation of engineers, the founders of Acer gradually established the Taiwanese company as one of the world's top PC makers today.

This year, cutting-edge technology players such as DS2, will be attempting to make their presence felt at Computex. The company specializes in powerline communications, an increasingly popular mode of broadband Internet access in Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea and China.

Ramon Garcia, director of DS2's Asian office in Tokyo, told ZDNet Asia that his company will be demonstrating its new 200Mbps powerline technology at the show this year.

Because of the large density in many Asian cities, Internet service providers have been deploying such technology to provide data, voice and video services within buildings, Garcia said.

Some 1,300 exhibitors will show their wares at Computex this year, and are also expected to lust over the prestigious 'Best Choice' product awards to be handed out at the event. The award was started in 2001 to encourage innovation in the Taiwanese IT industry, and to assist vendors in pursuing business opportunities abroad.

The event organizers are inviting experts and scholars from the government, academic circles and the industry to take part in the selection process for the awards. This year, 22 products in 11 categories are expected to be awarded. The Asus A636 personal digital assistant and the BenQ CM3500 multifunction printer were among the winners last year.

In addition to product showcases, a series of forums graced by industry experts will also be held on the exhibition grounds. At the e21 Forum, for instance, Anand Chandrasekher, Intel vice president and director of sales and marketing, will discuss the impact of technology's rapid change on consumers and businesses worldwide.

Other technology areas on show include Net telephony, PCs and notebooks, motherboards, software, car electronics and digital home systems.

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