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Germany

All the World’s a Computer on CeBIT’s Stage

The world’s largest computer and telecommunications fair opens its doors on March 13 in Hanover. For 8 days, the leading technology players will showcase their products and create headlines on the future of the computer.

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The place to be for IT professionals

When the curtain rises next week on CeBIT, the world will be abuzz with talk of the newest developments in information technology and telecommunications. Billed as the world’s number-one fair for computers and communication technology, CeBIT attracts the biggest names in the IT industry.

Every year thousands of international exhibitors flock to Hanover to unveil their latest products in front of an expert public. Despite a sharp economic decline in the IT branch over the last year, CeBIT organizers are expecting some 8,000 companies to attend the fair this year. With such high exhibitor turn-out, CeBIT will be the largest single global marketplace for the computer and telecommunications industry in 2002.

CeBIT exhibitors originate from 58 countries. German businesses head up the list of companies, followed by Taiwan (555 exhibitors), the United States (512) and Great Britain (364). For the first time in CeBIT’s history, countries with emerging technology markets such as China and Turkey have a marked presence at the fair.

Big names

The list of exhibitors reads like a Who’s Who of the IT industry with all the big name players turning out from Germany’s own Telekom to Bill Gates’ Microsoft. Of all the business sectors, however, telecommunications companies make up the majority of exhibitors with a cumulative show space of 140,000 square meters.

Cell phone producers such as Nokia, Sony, Ericsson and Siemens are expected to attract considerable crowds with their multimedia messaging system, and E-plus will debut the German version of the long-awaited "i-mode".

But the CeBIT wouldn’t be the world’s most important computer trade fair if it weren’t for the impressive line-up of speakers. Steve Ballmer, President and CEO of Microsoft, will be attending the CeBIT for the first time, and together with German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder he will speak at the opening ceremony.

Throughout the eight-day event, numerous forums and corporate presentations will also add theoretical input on topics as vast and varied as e-government, internet access for a global community, online banking, IT security and card technology and voice processing.

Making headlines with computers and telecommunications is what CeBIT is really all about. Even if the new technology branch suffered under the past year’s economic slowdown, the IT industry is still confident it can attract attention and consumers with this year’s innovations.

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