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Korean firms disappointed with world's largest tech expo going online-only in 2021

All News 17:09 July 29, 2020

By Joo Kyung-don

SEOUL, July 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korean firms on Wednesday lamented the world's largest tech expo's decision to hold the event online next year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic as they seek ways to better promote their new technology and products.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has announced that the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will go fully digital next year due to the COVID-19 crisis. The tech show is slated for Jan. 6 to 9 in the United States.

"Amid the pandemic and growing global health concerns about the spread of COVID-19, it's just not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business in person," said CTA chief Gary Shapiro.

The CES has been an important event for South Korean electronics giants, like Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc., as it offers an opportunity to showcase their latest products and technologies to global audiences.

This photo, taken on Jan. 7, 2020, shows visitors at Samsung Electronics Co.'s exhibition booth at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Yonhap)

This photo, taken on Jan. 7, 2020, shows visitors at Samsung Electronics Co.'s exhibition booth at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Yonhap)

This year's CES drew more than 180,000 visitors, with some 4,500 companies from 155 countries also attending the event.

"The CES is a place where companies can check, share and benchmark the industry's latest technology trends," said an official from a local electronics company who asked not to be named. "It's a pity that we cannot see that stage next year."

Although the event will be held online, industry insiders pointed out that it will be less attractive compared to an in-person expo.

"What's more regretful is that we will miss opportunities to meet people from other companies and institutions and exchange future business ideas," said another official from an electronics firm.

Non-traditional electronics firms, including Hyundai Motor, also chimed in.

"The CES in recent years was not only covering electronics but also electric vehicles (EVs) and robots," said an official from a battery maker. "I'm afraid we will have less opportunities to check out trends of next-generation technology in EVs and batteries, with the show turning online."

South Korean firms said they will decide their moves related to next year's CES after looking at the event organizer's detailed plans.

Industry insiders said local companies will have to figure out the best way to approach spectators online amid the contactless trend sparked by the pandemic.

The CES already promised that next year's event will deliver a "unique experience."

"CES 2021 will be a new immersive experience, where attendees will have a front row seat to discover and see the latest technology," it said. "This highly personalized experience will bring a global event to the comfort and safety of your home or office."


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