Tag Archives: tosy

CES needs to bring global partners to the dance

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The “global technology event” which is officially – whatever that means – called “International CES” isn’t living up to its name even as well as it did (or not) last year. Exhibitors from Africa, South America, South Asia and Southeast Asia are even thinner on the ground in 2014, judging from the pre-show floor guide.

Last year, 23 companies from ASEAN nations exhibited products, this year the total is only 18. Hanoi-based Tosy is thankfully back – nothing like a dancing robot to perk up the day. The Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand also have a single representative, a plus for the Philippines but a loss for Thailand which fielded 3 exhibits last year. Singapore is still the powerhouse, with 14 companies showing product, a gain of 1.

Indian companies and organisations are losing interest, with only 6 exhibiting versus 10 in 2013. South America is doing better this year, with one bona fide entrant – Comercial Revbox, a trading company from Chile – on the show floor. Last year’s continental rankings had South America tied with Antarctica: zero.

Africa is not doing as well. Vivid Audio, a Johannesburg-based maker of high end audio systems, is back but that’s it. Morocco’s Nemotek isn’t returning and no other African exhibitor is making the trip.

Developing world start-ups sometimes share booth space with better established partners or participate in small company showcases, like Showstoppers or Pepcom, so there’s plenty of opportunities for pleasant surprises.

Last year, 36,000 people – nearly a quarter of the total – from 150 countries came to CES as international visitors, and exhibitors from dozens of northern hemisphere countries could be found on the show floor. CES is an amazing show that well deserves its international tag. It’s not too much to hope that it can eventually close the gap and become a truly global event.

Next wave of global technology brands coming from Southeast Asia

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Disco fever, Hanoi style.

Southeast Asian manufacturers fared better at CES last week than companies from Africa, South America or even India, where the exhibitor count was two, none and ten, respectively.

I counted a total of twenty-one companies from the ASEAN region, with Singapore accounting for thirteen of those and Thailand with three.

Tosy, the sole Vietnamese manufacturer, had the biggest floor presence. The Hanoi-based toy maker was demonstrating its range of dancing robots on a big stage in the Las Vegas Convention Center's Central Hall. They've exhibited at CES in the past, and it showed.

Heroic realism for the machine age.

Two Malaysian companies had small booths: Inetmon, an enterprise networking company that was showing an integrated conferencing platform, and TC Electronics, which produces a line of car audio products. Two exhibitors came from Indonesia as well. Maestro Community had its Vinzo brand tablet and smart phone cases in its booth, while Nano HiFi had its ultra compact home audio system on display.

There were plenty of products that were made in Southeast Asia at the show. The region is a major outsourced manufacturing center. So this year's trickle of home-grown companies looking to build internationally recognized brands has the potential to turn into the tsunami of CES exhibitors that China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea have produced.

Beside accounting for an increasingly dominant share of the flagship displays in Central Hall, those four countries also accounted for all of the small booths in the two halls at the Venetian hotel that were designated as the CES International Gateway. Their technology industries got big boosts from off shore manufacturing too. Expect the pattern to continue in Southeast Asia.