CeBIT(http://www.messe.de) is expected to showcase the latest industry trends in which hardware, software and services are combined with the overriding theme of CeBIT 2007: Convergence.
Europe's IT market was deemed to have fallen behind in comparison with that of Asia and North America, but the demand for cellular phones, digital TV, and other mobile information equipment and tools is rapidly increasing, according to Ham Jeong-oh, Director General of the IT and Electronics Industry Marketing Team at KOTRA.
The rapid economic development of Eastern Europe, which some have started calling "the second Chinese market," pulls the market at large. Europe in whole is forecast to be the source of unprecedented IT demand by the year 2010.
Full-scale Advent of the Digital Convergence Era
Concerning the most efficient way to advance into the European IT market, Ham insists: "Thorough understanding of the European market must precede entry as the European market is not easy to capture due to the regional inclination which attaches importance to tradition and diversity of individual tastes despite such dramatic growth in the IT market."
For instance, lifestyles vary from country to country throughout the European market, while the propensity to consume is concentrated on countries in which commodities prices are cheap.
"Additionally," Ham commented, "since the transfer of industry strongholds like manufacturing factories is not brisk, Europe is not necessarily an easy place to do business."
As Eastern European economies continue growing, however, expectations for increased consumer demand for IT products are high, a phenomenon not unlike what is happening in China.
In the markets that are greeting the era of digital convergence for IT and AV, for example, Mr. Ham said that it is necessary to devise an elaborate strategy for commercialization that takes into consideration current TV broadcasting systems.
Offering further advice for companies looking to pioneer the European market, Ham stressed the need to acquire a specific pool of regional experts and create products designed specifically for the region.
Currently, domestic small- and medium-sized IT companies concentrate chiefly on the US market, thus, as a result, limited information on the European market is available, he pointed out. This adds to the difficulties that small- and medium-sized companies already experience when entering new markets, specifically in regard to a lack of information on circulation channels for their products.
To alleviate this situation, Ham advised companies to have a marketing specialist on staff who fully understands the European culture and mindset.
Through exhibitions such as CeBit, Europe has established itself as a region where new products are launched and innovative businesses take root. In light of this, the KOTRA IT expert highly recommends Korean IT SMEs to participate in trade shows on European soil in order to help them establish a foot in the local market.
Conspicuous Participation by DMB Manufacturers
Director General Ham continued: "For domestic small- and medium-sized companies who wish to show off their wares on an international stage surrounded by the latest in cutting-edge information, communications, and electronic home appliance technology, CeBIT is not just an exhibition. Instead, it is an opportunity to forecast the direction of development in the IT industry, thus enabling SMEs to stay adrift of the trends and changes taking place as they compete to reach the highest levels in the global information and communications technology market."
KOTRA stands ready to support Korea's burgeoning IT SMEs, assured Mr. Ham, who recommended that companies use the Korean national trade and investment promotion agency's resources to strengthen their foundation for growth through CeBIT. Through the agency's 24 Korea Trade Centers, KOTRA has plans to dispatch delegations to provide assistance to domestic small- and mediumsized IT companies in the form of a publicity campaign and support to attract foreign buyers.
Also specific to its efforts for CeBIT, KOTRA is offering on-site Internet installation and will provide participating companies with accommodation reservation services for their travel convenience. Moreover, KOTRA has plans to distribute a Korea Pavilion directory for buyers and operate a publicity booth at each hall.
According to Ham, the primary topics for business solutions at the forthcoming technology trade show of trade shows in Hannover will be SoC, RFID, and outsourcing based on service. In addition, advancements in mobile communications and navigation are expected to be the talk of the telecommunications field this year.
In full recognition of this, KOTRA's IT and Electronics Industry Marketing Team will focus its efforts specifically on supporting RFID, outsourcing (EMS), mobile technology, semiconductors, and software connected with the aforementioned advances. To allow companies to take full advantage of this support, Mr. Ham reiterated how important it is for SMEs to utilize KOTRA's strengths, and made particular mention of its network of 100 trade offices in 75 countries and 32 IT Belt trade offices located around the world.
The Importance of CeBIT 2007
Regarding the importance of CeBIT 2007, Ham emphasized: "The accent of Korean companies will be conspicuous in Hannover, particularly in the field of mobile technology," explaining that CeBIT 2007, which serves the entire IT industry, will highlight which tasks hardware manufacturers will have to undertake if they wish to excel in the lucrative digitally-converged market that looms on the horizon.
DMB equipment manufacturers will be on hand at KOTRA's Korea Pavilion to show off the latest trends in digital convergence.
Industry giant Samsung Electronics has made efforts to integrate its IT-based and information and telecommunications technologies by grasping the trends of conver-gence in advance. Mr. Ham stated, "Samsung has gone a different route than traditional hardware manufacturers such as IBM, Fujitsu and Siemens. He added that, "Samsung is forecast to take the lead as the global information and communication technology markets evolve through the convergence of hardware and service."