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Germany

Internet World Grows Up

The Internet is no longer in its infancy. And the companies that survived the turbulence of 2001 in the IT-sector are presenting themselves stronger than ever at this year's Internet World trade fair in Berlin.

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Get your shoes shined while checking out the latest products and innovations in the virtual world.

The Internet sector has become more dependable, more mature and more realistic, says Michaela Voltenauer, organizer of Europe's largest Internet fair, the Internet World.

"Our exhibitors this year survived the crisis well," she said at the opening in Berlin on Tuesday. A "pampered hype" has developed into a serious medium, Voltenauer said. Following the Internet lull, this industry is hoping to see positive signals for an economic recovery, she added.

Central topics at this year's fair are solutions for e-commerce, content management and Internet infrastructure. The fair, which runs through Thursday, has designated a special area to safety in information technology. A new focus is e-learning. Voltenauer said 12 exhibitors are presenting their solutions for learning using the Internet.

The fair itself, like its exhibitors, did not come out of last year's dampened economic situation unscathed. For the first time in five years, the number of exhibitors dropped: from 900 companies in 2001 to 550 this year. According to the organizers, about a third of last year's exhibitors are not even on the market anymore.

The German Association for Information Technology, Bitkom, said it expects sales to improve this year by 13.1 percent to 31.8 billion euro. Growth would particularly take place in mobile wireless technology, data and internet services.

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