Developing a Global Trade Show Concept

CE China takes new steps evolving as part of a growing ecosystem of events

CE China is an integral part of Messe Berlin’s global “IFA ecosystem”. We asked IFA Executive Director and CE China Chairman, Jens Heithecker how the ecosystem works and where CE China fits in.

As everyone knows, there are three main markets for technical consumer goods: Europe, China / Asia, and North America. As organisers of trade events, we need to be connected to the global markets for our global exhibitors. By the same token, there is no question of simply organising another IFA in China or America. We had to find the right concepts, and we need to work on developing these. Since we started working in China a few years ago, we have learned a great deal about this market; but the real positive result we have seen is that of being more than ever connected to the Chinese retailers and industry. We understand their strategies much better than we did before we started activities in China. Whenever you establish a new trade show, you need two to four years to see what is successful and what has to be improved. The idea was always to build up a business show… a true business show with a clear business focus. And from the first show onwards, we knew it was not about “hit and run”. It was about convincing people to seek new ways to address retailers here in Asia to seek or open new ways for the brand manufacturers to address retailers via a high-quality event.

WE HAVE MOVED TO GUANGZHOU BECAUSE IT’S ONE OF THE MOST TRADITIONAL TRADE SHOW EXHIBITION CITIES IN CHINA WHERE ALL THE MAJOR PLAYERS FROM THE ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY ARE GATHERING.

This year, the show is in Guangzhou. Why so?

We have moved to Guangzhou because it’s one of the most traditional trade show exhibition cities in China where all the major players from the electronics industry are gathering in the Pearl River Delta. But we also have a better space than at the previous location in Shenzhen, and the timing is better this year. We are very positive that following this major change, we will have more exhibitors, including more exhibitors from China. The main idea has been to create a trade show for brands from around the world to train the retail for the next season, and this is working well. In this fourth edition of CE China, and the first in Guangzhou, I am very confident we will lay down the basics for the next foreign story for the IFA brand. We are not only showing brands and products in the field of consumer electronics and home appliances. There will also be new exhibits from car manufacturers showing new mobility solutions, as well as an innovative VR/AR summit, as an example to gather some cutting edge players from the city of Guangzhou.

At IFA this year, there was a big focus on the connected home. China seems to be quite open and interested these new ideas and concepts. Why do you think it is so?

It’s true, Chinese consumers are very open to new technologies. I think the major point in China, and what really differentiates it from other markets is it’s booming construction industry. When new homes, or new apartment buildings are launched into the market, it’s much easier to talk about connected home and all the smart home functions, before you build the house than to do it afterwards. There lies the main advantage of China, the other being that users are more open with regards to data usage than in Europe.

What would you say differentiates Messe Berlin’s trade events in this sector? What sets your shows apart?

We have a clear focus. The focus is consumer products, innovations for consumers. And the focus is retail. Nothing more and nothing less. It is also about connecting the networks on both sides, getting access to the Chinese market even from the Berlin side.


Photo: Jens Heithecker Chairman, CE China and Executive Director, IFA