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     Computex: Hardware’s great gathering, 2011
      Posted on 30/05/2011 at 17:35 by Damien
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    It comes around every spring, so here we are again, in Taipei, on the occasion of the world’s biggest show when it comes to PC components. Taking place in Taiwan, Computex is of course a major hub in the PC industry and attracts numerous journalists from all over the world in search of innovations and contacts straight from the horse’s mouth and international buyers in quest of a good deal – around USD 25 billion in contracts will be signed here.

    Organised by TAITRA, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, and the Taipei Computer Association (TCA), this year’s Computex is packed with 1800 exibitors across more than 5000 stands and several exhibition centres. While the arrival of visitors is relatively constant (around 120,000 are expected, of whom 36,000 from outside Taiwan), the organisers are concerned about a lack of space and 2012 will see an additional 500 stands thanks to the conversion of a carpark into a new exhibition area.

    Walter Yeh, head of TAITRA, and Frank Poerschmann, Global Head of CeBIT, exchange gifts to seal the accord between the two shows.

    This growth of Computex is probably to the detriment of the German CeBIT, which, though with a bigger covered area, is losing its shine as the years go by. It is of course not positive for European business if fewer foreign buyers attend CeBIT and the European show has now associated itself with Computex through a rather vague agreement to exchange contacts and information so as to facilitate commercial relations. This will no doubt allow CeBIT to compensate for its recent losses and Taiwan to better place itself for a more flexible agreement with the European economic area.

    While the success of Computex is to a great extent due to the fact that it is held in close proximity to major players such as Acer, Asus, Compal, Gigabyte, HONHAI and so on, it also benefits from its proximity to those areas of the world that are developing fastest (China and India). Chinese manufacturers are more and more numerous each year at Computex, benefitting from the improved political relations between the island and the continent.

    Although we will mainly be concentrating on PC components, this edition of the show will, it seems, feature five main areas of growth: tablets, e-readers, smartphones, stereo 3D and cloud computing… namely the same trends as last year. While the major Taiwanese brands still lag somewhat in the development of new usages (Apple of course was the pioneer of the tablet as an in-demand product), they nevertheless have a great breadth of production. According to the organisers of Computex, the debate on the mass arrival of tablets on the market and their competition with netbooks or notebooks therefore doesn’t make much sense.

    Smartphones and tablets are products with great potential for growth for Taiwan.

    Faced with the decline in netbook sales in Europe and North America, the tablet can be seen as a more effective replacement product. In the developing world however netbook sales contine to grow. Taiwanese industry must therefore target each market with the right products and take as much as it can from the economic recovery in Asia. All this should be enough to overcome the dip in performance linked to the bug in Intel chipsets for Sandy Bridge and the Japanese earthquake and reduction in demand in the very sizeable Japanese market. Note here that the problems linked to supply of Japanese components are likely to be felt in the course of the next quarter (Taiwanese manufacturers have been able to fall back on existing stocks up to now). It is however difficult to estimate to what extent this will affect products that are presented during Computex.

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