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Google Android the star of Computex 2009

Attendance falls at Taipei tradeshow

Netbooks, smartbooks, CULV laptops and other gadgets captured widespread attention last week at the Computex Taipei 2009 tradeshow.

The Computex Taipei 2009 electronics show ended on Saturday after a week-long display of new gadgets, including netbooks, ultra thin laptops made with new Intel chips and several surprises surrounding Google's Android mobile phone operating system.

The show's final numbers were down nearly across the board from last year, but not by much considering the global recession and fears surrounding the H1N1 swine flu.

An estimated 100,000 people visited Computex Taipei 2009 from around the world, down slightly from 106,517 last year, according to figures from the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA).

The totals include 32,178 international buyers, down from 34,685 last year and 1,712 exhibitors, down compared to 1,750. The only figure that improved was the amount of booths rented, which rose to 4,498 this year, from around 4,000 last year.

The 2008 comparison figures were taken from last year's closing press release from Computex, important to note because show organisers did not offer the figures on the 2009 press release, instead saying most of the 2009 numbers were up between 1 percent and 5 percent over last year. A TAITRA official was unable to immediately explain the discrepancy in the figures.

Chinese companies at Computex's first ever China pavilion complained deal-making was slower than they had expected.

Chinese network equipment maker Shenzhen Yichen Technology Development found 30 percent to 40 percent more buyers at the show last year compared to this year, a representative manning the company's booth said on the last day of Computex.

The representative blamed the economic downturn for what he said was a smaller turnout at the exhibition than last year.

The aisles of Chinese company booths were empty compared to other areas of the exhibition.

This was the first year Chinese companies were officially welcomed at Computex, though JCG was one of a group that attended last year by registering as Hong Kong-based companies. Political differences between Taiwan and China have kept the presence of Chinese firms to a minimum in the past, but growing bonds between people in both places has turned out to be a boon for business.

Over 130 Chinese companies had booths this year, according to TAITRA.

One first-time exhibitor, southern Chinese laptop vendor and designer Guangzhou Darling Industrial, also perceived a low turnout. The company did not secure the four to five business partners it expected to find, said a representative at the company's booth.

The company also hoped to form partnerships with companies from outside Taiwan, but Taiwanese businesses were the main attendees, she said.

The company has not decided if it will attend next year, she said.

NEXT PAGE: sluggish attendance, lack of deals


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