The Computex Taipei 2008 tradeshow this week announced that orders for computer and communications hardware placed at the event are expected to hit $20bn this year. The growth - up from $15bn in 2007 - could one day make the computer and electronics show the biggest in the world.
The Computex event, which runs from June 3 to June 7 in Taiwan, will be the biggest ever. Space for companies to show off their wares has soared by 53 percent to 4,482 booths, organisers said, from 2,926 last year.
Organisers estimate that sales related to the show but made later in the year will be around $50bn.
Computex already ranks among the top five electronics shows in the world. But expanding to another exhibition hall near Taipei gave organisers more room for companies that have been begging for added booth area. Despite the new space, some companies were still left out.
"There is still a waiting list to get into Computex," said Walter Yeh, executive vice president at the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), co-organiser of the event.
Computex show space will be at two locations this year, with exhibition halls at the World Trade Center in the capital of Taipei, and Nangang.
The organisers have set up free shuttle buses to ferry people back and forth between the exhibition halls, and expect that the average ride will be 30 minutes, based on the time it has taken during other major shows held concurrently at both areas.
The show will highlight a few product categories this year, including environmentally-friendly computer hardware and devices able to connect to the Internet wirelessly via WiMax, organizers said.
Low-cost laptop PCs, rivals to Asustek's popular Eee PC,, will feature prominently. "As far as we know, every major vendor will announce their own kind of this product at Computex," said Li Chang, deputy secretary general for the Taipei Computer Association (TCA), the other organiser of the event.
Taiwanese companies will be the main exhibitors at Computex, as usual, followed by vendors from the US, Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea.
China will figure more prominently this year, due to a creative solution to the naming of the show.
Literature aimed at China calls Computex a "Cross-Strait Exhibition" instead of an "International Exhibition," careful wording aimed at avoiding political problems with China, which claims Taiwan as a province.
"China is also a very important market, a booming market," said Yeh.
Taiwan and China split in 1949 amid civil war, and China has vowed to use force if necessary to take the island back.