IFA prepares to launch first Asian event

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IFA prepares to launch first Asian event


Dr. Christian Goke, CEO of Messe Berlin, host of IFA, speaks at the Pre-IFA Global Press Conference at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Hong Kong on Monday. [SEO JI-EUN]

HONG KONG - IFA, Europe’s leading trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances, is set to launch its Asian edition called “Consumer Electronics China” in Shenzhen tomorrow, marking the growing importance of consumers both in China and across Asia more broadly.

“China is the global market where we can provide citizens broader access to consumer electronics from around the world,” said Dr. Christian Goke, CEO of Messe Berlin, ISA’s host, in a press conference on Monday. He noted that Shenzhen, often called the Silicon Valley of China, is one of the country’s “fastest-growing cities, ranked amongst China’s top cities in terms of the quality and level of innovation.”

The event in Shenzhen was made possible by support from e-commerce giant Alibaba and Suning, a major retailer, he added.

IFA, short for “Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin” in German, takes place in September every year in Berlin and typically invites tech journalists from around the world to its “Pre-IFA Global Press Conference” every April to provide an overall preview of the upcoming fair and talk about trends in the tech community.

This year, IFA broke its decade-long tradition of holding the annual press event in resort cities across Europe - including Malta, Dubrovnik and Sardinia - to hold it in Hong Kong two days before Consumer Electronics China takes place.

Speakers at the Monday event covered ongoing trends in consumer electronics and related predictions.

Jurgen Boyny, global director of consumer electronics at the German market research firm GFK, predicted that the booming concept of the “connected consumer” will extend as long as the next 15 years. He cited the skyrocketing middle class in Asia, urbanization and the growth of single-person households as the key propeller of the trend.

By 2020, 54 percent of the global middle class will be living in Asia, GFK says, and by 2030, two thirds will be living in Asia. GFK also predicts that single-person households will account for 40 percent or more of the entire households by 2030.

Udo Jansen, global director for small domestic appliances at GFK, noted that the small-sized consumer electronics products in the fields of health care and beauty have been increasingly popular in Europe.

Between 2013 and 2015, Europe saw sales of callus removers shoot up 73 percent, electrical stimulation devices for muscles up 25 percent and skin care devices climb 17 percent.

IFA 2016 is scheduled for Sept. 2-7 in Berlin, featuring global tech firms including Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics.

Whereas the Consumer Electronics Show, which places every January in Las Vegas, is focused on cutting-edge technologies and devices, IFA is more about consumer goods in trends such as TVs, refrigerators and washing machines.

Goke said IFA will add a new 10,000-square-meter (108,000-square-foot) exhibition hall in the Kreuzberg area of Berlin devoted solely to business-to-business marketplaces, dubbed Global Markets.

The venue for the next IFA press event may change again next year, and Seoul is one possibility, the organizers said.

One possible factor motivating a change would be the issues some journalists had receiving visas to attend the event.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]
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