Repositioning CeBIT the ‘best decision ever’
By Goh Thean Eu March 20, 2015
- Managed to win back customers which were absent for many years
- Increasing its focus on startups with the introduction of SCALE 11
FOR Deutsche Messe AG, the decision to reposition CeBIT as a B2B (business-to-business) platform for information technology was one of the best decisions in recent years, as this made its annual technology trade fair more relevant to exhibitors.
“Our exhibitors are very satisfied with the changes, which also enabled us to win back customers,” said Oliver Frese (pic above), member of the managing board for Deutsche Messe.
“Konica Minolta and Alcatel Lucent Enterprise returned after years of absence; while Intel, Hewlett-Packard and others have increased their space,” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) via email recently, adding that this year’s CeBIT is 5% bigger than last year’s.
“At the moment, I am very satisfied with the progress we have made so far,” he added.
CeBIT is the world’s biggest ICT trade fair, and is organised and managed by Deutsche Messe, a state-backed company whose ownership comprises the Government of Lower Saxony and the City of Hannover, where the fair is held.
CeBIT stands for ‘Centrum der Büroautomation und Informationstechnologie und Telekommunikation – German for ‘Centre of Office Automation and Information Technology and Telecommunication.
CeBIT 2015 is expected to host more than 200,000 visitors with more than 3,300 exhibitors taking part. But while exhibitor and visitor numbers are major indicators of the success of the event, Frese believes that there are other elements that convince exhibitors to come back year after year.
“The exhibitor and visitor numbers are relevant in terms of how the show went, but the key indicators of success are different,” he said.
“Exhibitors present themselves at CeBIT to generate new business, so a factor such as the decision-making capacity of a visitor is much more important. Exhibitors want to meet chief information officers, top managers and IT professionals.
“The most important metric is the number of leads generated at CeBIT, because it determines how satisfied our exhibitors are,” he added.
So far, based on the positive feedback from the repositioning of CeBIT, Frese is optimistic that Deutsche Messe would be able to steer CeBIT into becoming the leading B2B platform for IT, and the CeBIT Global Conferences as the world’s leading IT forum for networking and knowledge sharing.
“We work closely with all stakeholders – exhibitors, trade associations, media companies, local, regional and national government, and others – to make sure that we cover the latest technologies trends, topics and issues in the global IT industry.
“Every year, a ‘partner country’ builds a bridge for CeBIT to a specific IT market. Plus, we organise CeBIT events in Australia, Brazil, India and Turkey, which provide local exposure in these markets for the CeBIT brand,” said Frese.
Growing prominence of Asian players
This year, there are some 1,000 exhibitors from Asia, representing close to one-third of the total exhibitors’ base of 3,300.
Frese said that the growing number of Asian exhibitors was driven by two factors – the first being that China is the partner country for this year’s CeBIT.
In fact, there were more than 600 Chinese companies at CeBIT 2015, from startups to major corporations like the Alibaba Group, whose founder Jack Ma delivered the keynote address at the conference.
“Second, the Asian IT market is booming. Some of the biggest IT corporations in the world come from Asia, but so far they only operate in the Asian market. These companies are now ready to take the next step and enter Europe and the United States,” said Frese.
“In the coming years, we expect this trend to continue and spread to other Asian countries. I am confident we can expect many more Asian IT companies at CeBIT in the future,” he added.
Although the bulk of exhibitors are based in Europe, Frese was quick to add that CeBIT is indeed an international event, contrary to some views that see it as a Europe-centric event.
“This event attracts exhibitors from 70 countries, visitors from more than 120 countries, and journalists from 67 countries.
“Also, when a company based outside of Germany registers for CeBIT through its German office, that company is listed as a German company, which skews participation statistics,” he added.
Increasing focus on startups
Deutsche Messe is also aiming to increase CeBIT’s presence in the startup space. It reached out to the startup community by introducing a specialised area for young companies to showcase their products and services.
This year, CeBIT saw spin-offs from universities and research institutes. CODE_n, its international startup competition, will feature 50 startups from 17 countries.
CeBIT 2015 also introduced a new innovation platform called Scale 11, where startups will showcase their products and services in one hall. This means prospective investors looking to invest in startups need not go to different halls to meet all the startups.
“Scale 11 is a great addition because it covers the whole ecosystem of startups. For example, participants can pitch for investors and win mentoring or seats in accelerators.
“We have quite a few startups from India exhibiting at Scale 11,” said Frese.
Goh Thean Eu reports from Hannover, Germany, at the invitation of CeBIT organiser Deutsche Messe AG. All editorials are independent.
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