Tablets, Android TVs Debut At Largest SINOCES To Date

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QINGDAO, CHINA –

Tablets, Androidbased smart TVs and statistics underscoring the rapid growth of China’s CE market captured the attention of attendees at the China International Consumer Electronics Show (SINOCES), where laptops and 3DTVs mingled with washing machines and personal grooming kits on the display floor.

Tablets put in their first appearance at the show, with Chinese companies Lenovo and Haier showing their first Android models for the China market. For its part, Chinese supplier Hisense showed its first Android-based smart TVs. (See story for details on the tablet and TV launches.)

The 11th annual event, which is the eighth to be co-sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), was forecast to be the largest in the show’s history when it kicked off July 7 for its four-day run in Qingdao, a port city that is one of China’s largest manufacturing centers for CE and appliances.

The show draws China-based retailers and distributors as well as some international attendees, and was expected to attract more than 80,000 attendees and 532 exhibitors, up from 2010’s 65,375 attendees and 503 exhibitors, according to show organizers and sponsors. Final results haven’t been announced.

The number of international attendees was up this year, said CEA president/ CEO Gary Shapiro. International attendees included such U.S. retailers as BrandsMart, Office Depot, RadioShack, Best Buy and Fry’s Electronics, whose president Randy Fry is also CEA’s chairman.

Show sponsors included various Chinese government ministries and CEA. The show’s organizers were the Qingdao municipal government and the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products.

Although China-based companies such as Hisense, Haier and Lenovo, and China wireless carriers such as China Telecfom, dominated the show, the event also attracted global brands such as Siemens’s appliance group and Panasonic, which exhibited its 103-inch 3DTV. Microsoft showed up as a firsttime exhibitor.

The companies exhibited at a show whose key themes included Cloud computing, which “has become the future development trend in the electronics industry,” said Chamber of Commerce VP Yao Wenping during a pre-show press briefing. Other technologies on display included networking and green and low-carbon-footprint technology.

Besides serving as a showcase for these technologies, SINOCES is also “an effective springboard for overseas companies to enter the Chinese market, one of the best portals for Chinese companies to enter the world market, and a major power propelling the development of the global consumer electronics industry,” Wenping said.

On a similar note, CEA’s Shapiro said products introduced here and at January’s International CES “not only create trade but jobs and economic growth.” Based on the strength of CES and SINOCES, he said, “the world CE industry is becoming the engine of the world economy.”

SINOCES has been a major factor in improving and growing China’s CE industry, Wenping contended. As a result, “the position of Chinese consumer electronics enterprises is improving in the global trade system.” For now, however, she admitted that “Chinese enterprises don’t have the power of influence … corresponding to our economic power in global trade.” For example, she said, “although Chinese enterprises have made more and more frequent attendance in world first-class electronics shows such as CES, CeBit and IFA, it is still difficult for us to play the leading role in such shows for various reasons.”

Nonetheless, she said, “Chinese consumer electronics providers are gradually growing into international group corporations of world influence.” She later told TWICE through an interpreter that Chinese CE companies could become “first class in the world” to rival major Japanese and Koran brands. “We have strong confidence here,” she said.

China’s CE industry has grown to the point that in 2010, China’s imports and exports of CE products hit $593.5 billion, accounting for 20 percent of China’s total imports and exports, Wenping said. During the past 10 years, the average growth rate in domestic CE sales has been 24 percent, she noted.

In a separate presentation during the show’s Consumer Electronics Industry Summit, Germany-based research company GfK Retail and Technology forecast that China’s share of global retail-level CE sales will grow from 10 percent in 2008 to 13 percent in 2011 while Europe’s shrinks from 35 percent to 28 percent during those years. North America’s share will remain at 21 percent in 2011, the same as during the previous three years, said Juergen Boyny, GfK’s consumer electronics global director.

Global retail-level CE sales will grow 6 percent to 668 billion euros ($937.3 billion at an exchange rate of $1 to 0.71 euros) compared with 19 percent growth in 2010 and a 5 percent decline in 2009, Boyny said.

For his part, Shapiro said during the pre-show press conference that China has gained an “exceptional reputation” during the past 10 to 15 years as a world leader in manufacturing, but he noted that as the country’s “manufacturing competence grows,” the country must make the next step to become a leader in innovation, which he said requires a strong educational system, free trade and a willingness to take risks. The U.S., he noted, “views business failure as an important learning experience.”

Some major Chinese CE suppliers are major players in some regions of the world outside China, but not in the U.S., because those companies “lack innovation,” he later told TWICE. Chinese companies could eventually rival first-tier Japanese and Korean companies if they also focus more on image and service, he added.

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