Why CES Asia is Growing in all the Right Ways Shawn DuBravac

As we prepare for the 50th anniversary of CES in 2017, we close the door on the second annual CES Asia, held last week in Shanghai. For those of you who attended both last week and the inaugural event last year, you saw the stark differences in these two events with your own eyes. Despite only being in its second year, CES ASIA has grown tremendously – and in all the right ways.

CES Asia is Asia’ premier event for consumer tech. More than 375 companies from 23 countries, regions and territories  exhibited across 32,000 gross square meters of exhibit space. Notable exhibitors included 3M, Audio-Technica, Baidu, Beltronics, BMW, China Mobile, Cobra Electronics, Garmin, Hisense, IBM, LeTV, Mercedes-Benz, Monster, Pioneer, Speck, Twitter, Voxx and many more. This year, CES Asia introduced Startup Park, featuring 64 startups from around the world.

More than 32,000 attendees walked through the doors, including more than 1,000 members of the media. Across 50+ conference sessions and keynotes, big names like BMW Group Greater China President and CEO Olaf Kastner, Alibaba President of Tmall Consumer Electronics and Home Appliances Yin Jing and Huawei Present Kevin Ho delivered big ideas as virtual reality, the Internet of Things and connected cars took center stage.

Here are seven key takeaways from CES Asia 2016:

  1. CES ASIA has matured in just two years. This was evident not only by the strength of multi-national exhibitors but also by the investments in high-quality exhibit booths. For example, there were a large number of two-story exhibit booths. The quality of the show is extremely high.
  1. The ecosystem is united in painting a full picture of a technologically-infused future. CES Asia is an unparalleled experience in Asia. Most Asian tradeshows I have attended are heavily focused supplier/buyer affairs where attendees are concentrated on securing new products or sourcing services. CES Asia is decidedly different. Entire ecosystems are coming together at. For example, not only were leading auto manufacturers like BWM, Mercedes-Benz, Chevy, and Volvo exhibiting, but also leading suppliers further upstream like Continental, Valeo and TE Connectivity. This is the only show I’ve seen in Asia that highlights the innovation happening in an area holistically, from start to finish. This will also position CES Asia, like CES, as an event where business gets done and industry deals are brokered, because the entire ecosystem is present. It’s worth noting that CES Asia is also shaping up to be a very different show than even CES. More than half – 57 percent – of CES Asia exhibitors did not exhibit at CES 2016 in Las Vegas.
  1. Innovation transcends national boundaries. CES Asia attracted companies from around the globe. More than one-third of participating companies are headquartered outside mainland China. It was awesome to see the wide mix of multinational corporations exhibiting side by side. The best and brightest converged on CES Asia to highlight the innovative products and services they are bringing to market.
  2. Companies are competing both globally and locally. Never before has the marketplace for consumer technology been so global. And as a result, never before has the local marketplace been so fierce. Companies need to have a product or service that can stand against the most meaningful products and services in the world. They also need products and services that cater to local needs and preferences. CES Asia is a global stage with a local focus. It’s global in its reach but local in its application. Because most business happens at a decidedly local level, global companies are able to use CES Asia to highlight their understanding of these local needs. That makes CES Asia both unique and relevant. For example, JD.com showcased its delivery drones. Deploying drones for well-defined purposes is a trend I see emerging as I travel the globe. JD.com highlighted how this approach can be customized for the unique needs and attributes of the marketplace in Asia.
  1. Brands matters. CES ASIA has become a gathering place for global brands competing for awareness in Asia. Most of the companies exhibiting at CES Asia are global brands, known throughout Asia, that have a strong understanding of the unique needs of the regional marketplace. International exhibitors are looking to strengthen their brand positions further. There was an extremely strong focus on brand.
  2. The place to see the evolving nature of online services and retailing in Asia. CES Asia featured all four of China’s top retailers: Suning, Yihaodian, Alibaba and JD.com. No other event in the world, including CES, has all major Chinese retailers participating together. CES Asia is becoming the place where you can see the future of retailing for and incredibly important marketplace.
  1. Executives come to CES Asia to see what’s next. While at CES Asia, I met with a number of major multinational executive teams. They came to Shanghai looking to understand where the world is going, especially as it relates to the Asian marketplace.

Check out my CES Asia Trends to Watch presentation to learn more.

Major product announcements at this year’s show included:

  • 360: 360 Intelligent Camera 1080P
  • BMW: iFuture concept car
  • Mercedes-Benz: F015 Luxury in Motion research vechicle
  • Garmin: Forerunner 735XT multisport watch (I personally can’t wait to buy this one!)
  • Intel: Collaborations with Razer’s Razer Blade gaming laptop, Tencent’s TGP box and Lenovo’s smart shoe, in partnership with Vibram.
  • JD.com: A new generation of Dingdong AIUI speech recognition along with the DingDong open platform.
  • Bubble Lab: robotic coffee barista (innovation like this will not only change forever how we work, but will forever change how we live)

ZOL presented the Best of CES Asia Awards which included the following:

  • Best VR Product: PIMAX 4K
  • Best Wearable: Intel/Lenovo F2 Exercise Shoe
  • Best Transportation Product: BMW iVision Future Interaction
  • Best Connected Home Product: DingDong Smart Speaker
  • Best Drone: Yuneec Typhoon
  • Best Digital Audio Product: Phillips Fidelio E6
  • Best Television Technology: Hisense LT100K7900A
  • Best Personal Computing Device: Huawei P9
  • Best Startup: Avaz Free Speech and totwoo
  • Best Innovation (Disruptive Tech): Shanghai Qingtech Eye Control
  • Best Offbeat Product: COWA Robot Suitcase (THIS WAS AWESOME!)
  • Best Maker-Friendly Technology: ITO Film
  • People’s Voice Award: Garmin Fenix3
  • Best of the Best Award: Intel Realsense (I love Realsense!)

Major partnerships and business deals were publically announced as well:

  • LeEco and Twitter joined forces to grow LeEco’s global influence through Twitter’s live communications platform.
  • Mercedes-Benz and Baidu deepened partnership to offer Chinese Mercedes-Benz customers even more individual services for their connected vehicles.
  • Intel collaborated with Razer’s Razer Blade gaming laptop, Tencent’s TGP box and Lenovo’s smart shoe, in partnership with Vibram
  • Alibaba Group gave the audience a sneak peek into the future of online shopping with the use of 3D technology.
  • com discussed how smart technology is driving innovation in the logistics and retail sector.

Want more? Watch the highlight videos from CES Asia.