The world's favorite Governator is in Germany to spread technology-induced optimism. Arnold Schwarzenegger, never one to mince words, was upbeat and defiant as Germany's mammoth technology fair CeBIT gets underway.
Schwarzenegger didn't want to hear any whining
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had a message for those pessimists who worry that the bottom has fallen out of the technology market: stop your whining.
"Losers whine but winners move forward in a strong and powerful way, and I know that everyone who is here at the CeBIT is a winner," Schwarzenegger declared in a rollicking speech on the eve of the high-tech fair.
Schwarzenegger, originally from Austria, first gained fame as a bodybuilder before skyrocketing into the movie business with the "Terminator" movies. He is currently the governor of the state of California, where he has been struggling to deal with budget shortfalls.
Plenty of high-tech gadgetry is on display
CeBIT, which officially opens its doors on Tuesday, March 3, has fewer exhibitors than it has in past years. Organizers blamed the economic slowdown.
Schwarzenegger spoke at an opening ceremony alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday evening.
"We are gathering in challenging times. Some may say this is the wrong time for a big trade show like this but they are wrong," Schwarzenegger said.
Some 4,300 firms from 69 countries are in the northern German city of Hanover to show off their latest electronic gadgets and innovations. That is down 25 percent from last year, according to organizers.
Nevertheless, Germany's high-tech industry predicted earlier Monday that it expects to buck the economic crisis this year with sales stagnating but not sinking.
The sector encompassing information technology, telecommunications and digital consumer electronics is expected to hold steady at about 145 billion euros ($183 billion dollars), the BITKOM industrial lobby.
"For the time being, the high-tech industry is holding its own in the crisis," group president August-Wilhelm Scheer told reporters. "The sector looks pretty good compared to other industries."
A little star power
The high-tech industry says its holding its own despite the financial crisis
Merkel, who is facing Germany's worst postwar recession and a general election in six months' time, thanked Schwarzenegger for bringing "a little American spirit" to the northern city of Hanover.
According to California newspapers, Schwarzenegger will be in Germany for most of the week.
Speaking first in English then German, Schwarzenegger said he was pleased to be back in the country where he got his start as a bodybuilder and looked forward to enjoying some "German beer and German food" again while in town.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would come back to Germany as governor of the great state of California," he said.
Schwarzenegger was happy to be back in Germany
While in Hanover, Schwarzenegger will also pick up an award from the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany on Tuesday for "his exceptional commitment to the global issues of environment and energy."
California is the honorary guest at this year's CeBIT and Schwarzenegger has come to the CeBIT with around 50 firms from
California, most from Silicon Valley, an area which has been hard hit by the financial crisis. CeBIT runs through Sunday.
But Schwarzenegger wasn't letting the financial crisis drag him down.
At the end of the speech, Schwarzenegger brought down the house with his trademark "Terminator" farewell: "I'll be back. Hasta la vista, baby."