Chinese companies will be welcome to exhibit at Taiwan's annual Computex IT next year, the show's organizers said Saturday. The announcement came as organizers revealed a 10 percent increase in the number of foreign visitors at this year's show compared to last year.
About 33,000 visitors from overseas attended this year's fair versus 30,275 last year, said Walter Yeh, executive vice president of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, at a Taipei news conference held as the fair ended its five-day run. Local visitor numbers saw a more modest increase from 100,177 last year to around 103,000 this year, he said. Both figures were a little above organizer targets.
The rise in visitor numbers is impressive given the weather that Taipei has been experiencing this week. The usually hot and humid weather seen during early June was replaced this year by day after day of torrential rain that has caused deadly landslides elsewhere on the island.
"We will make good arrangements with heaven," Yeh said of Computex 2008.
Next year's show will see exhibitors split between the four exhibition halls that currently house the expo and a new center some distance away. Organizers hope to arrange shuttle buses to take people between the sites and estimate it will take 15 minutes -- a possibly optimistic goal given anecdotal journey times this week of around 30 minutes.
The organizers are yet to decide how they will split the show but promise the new space will mean next year's show will see around 4,500 booths versus the 2,926 at Computex 2007. Yeh said the show this year had waiting list about 500 companies long, so Computex 2008 should not only mean they are welcome but will also signal the opening of the show's doors to companies from China.
Until now, Chinese companies have not been welcome at the Taiwanese show due to space issues, said Yeh.
"We don't have enough space, but next year, we will have space," he said. "Some of their best manufacturers can be here, we will welcome them."
Yeh added he is confident that Chinese companies will appear at Computex 2008.
China and Taiwan separated in 1949 during a civil war between the Nationalist army of Chiang Kai-shek and the Communist forces of Mao Zedong. The two sides never reconciled, and China has repeatedly threatened to attack Taiwan if the island formally declares independence from the mainland.