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  • [Computex Taipei '98] Computex '98 Showcases Industry Trends for 18th Year
  • June 4, 1998 (TAIPEI) -- The Computex Taipei '98, which opened on June 2 for its 18th year, is showcasing computer and electronics industry trends.
    This annual trade show has 92 exhibitors from 15 countries occupying 35,000 square meters of floor space in two adjacent buildings in the Taipei World Trade Center.

    Even before the show officially opened, the fanfare started. On June 1, senior level executives attended a conference entitled "Hi-Tech Strategic Marketing: Inside the Tornado," based on the two books, "Inside the Tornado" and "Crossing the Chasm," by Geoffrey Moore. They could learn how to fine-tune marketing strategy and practices for products to become a market leader quickly in this battlefield, which is teeming with short-lived products and fierce competition.

    While other leading world computer shows may stress concepts and prototypes, Computex Taipei '98 highlights items ready for consumption. For example, Texas Instruments Inc. showcased modems, many 56kbps speed, from several vendors that utilize TI's digital signal processing technology.

    In the adjacent room, more than 30 software vendors clustered to demonstrate programs running on Intel Pentium II processor for business, education, entertainment and Web-enabled applications.

    Product highlights at the show reflect several IT industry trends:

    (1) Slot vs. Socket: In the sub-US$1,000 PC market, Intel's low- cost Celeron version of the Pentium II processor (Slot 1) is competing directly with low-cost processors from rivals such as AMD Inc. and Cyrix Corp. (Socket 7).

    (2) High-end PCs: dozens of manufacturers are showing motherboards with Pentium IIs and the new 440BX chip sets for desktops and notebooks for the high-end market.

    (3) Barebones becomes popular: motherboard makers nowadays ship in barebones form as a result of global logistics operation and the emergence of a highly diversified market environment.

    (4) Portable computing: new palm-sized organizers based on the Windows CE platform and sub-notebooks that will break the US$1,000 barrier are debuting at the show.

    (5) LCDs: many local CRT makers are increasingly devoting resources to 15-in. flat panel displays, a move that will help to cut costs, lower prices and expand markets at the same time.

    (6) V.90 standard: with the finalization of the V.90 standard by the International Telecommunication Union last February, V.90- compliant 56kbps modems are quickly becoming the mainstream.

    (7) Opto-electronic products: numerous Taiwan makers are releasing scanners, DVDs, printers and digital cameras to facilitate multimedia applications.

    "This is where you get a feeling of what people will be using six months from now," said Helen Chiu of the marketing division of Hsinchu-based Accton Technology Corp., which specializes in LAN systems.

    In 1997, more than 15,000 overseas guests visited the show. Although the attendance has been growing by double-digit percentages in the past few years, no one knows how much the Asian economic crises will affect the turnout at this show. Interestingly, there seem to be fewer Asian buyers this year.

    Perhaps because this is only the first day, "last year I ran into more than 100 fellow countrymen within two hours, but today I have seen only seven in the past four hours," commented Ninoy Kim of Great Innovation Systems Co. based in Seoul, Korea. Kim's company specializes in factory automation software and microprocessor applications. He came to the show looking for I/O cards for analog data acquisition and Chinese/English language industrial automation software packages to compare with the ones his company developed.

    Besides tangible products on display, dozens of seminars are being held concurrently on technical and business issues. In addition, several high-profile presentations are being offered by top brass managers from National Semiconductor Corp., Cyrix, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Acer Inc. On June 3, there will be a CEO round table meeting among leaders from 10 Taiwan companies, including United Microelectronics Corp., Acer and Winbond Electronics Corp.

    Related story: Computex Show Focuses on Pentium II Xeon Motherboards it

    Related story: Computex to Attract 892 Companies from 15 Nation

    (Charlene Huang, Asia BizTech Correspondent)

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    Nikkei BP BizTech, Inc.
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    Updated: Wed Jun 3 15:41:09 1998