26 March 2004
HANOVER – Business inquiries at this year’s Cebit computers and telecoms fair in Hanover, indicated a strong upturn in the industry, according to fair officials.
Ernst Raue, a Deutsche Messe executive, said he had expected an attendance of around half a million, and that had been exceeded with 510,000 coming through the gates in the seven days.
Last year’s fair had a gate of 560,000 but lasted one day along. Visitors with multi-day passes are counted for each day they enter.
Willi Berchtold, president of the German electronics federation BITKOM, said exhibitors used the fair to obtain “leads” to new business.
Raue said he had many conversations with exhibitors, who told him they had collected 15 to 20 percent more leads than at the 2003 fair. The trade fair, the world’s biggest combined show of its type, had 6,411 exhibitors from more than 60 nations.
The fair was “an important barometer” of sentiment that had confirmed BITKOM’s forecast of a 2.5 percent increase in German computer and telecoms sales to EUR 131.4 billion this year, Berchtold said.
Business was strong in the many pavilions dealing with information technology for industry, government or banks, areas that receive far less news coverage than the camera phones and recording devices aimed at the ordinary consumer.
“The visitors came to Hanover with concrete plans for investment,” he said. “Projects that had to be postponed in previous years are now being resumed.”
Raue said Cebit, where 85 percent of visitors attended as part of their work, did not want to take over the role of IFA, the world’s biggest home electronics show held every two years in Berlin.
He said 90 percent of IFA’s attendance was retail customers, whereas Cebit was for businesspeople. This year, 42,000 merchants had attended. Berchtold added, “We’re not addressing the consumer.”
Raue said 125,000 of the visitors came from outside Germany, led by 27,800 from the Asia-Pacific region.
Subject: German news