Veteran and first-time international buyers began talks that could lead to lucrative relationships in a fifth-floor meeting room at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, Hall 1, on Wednesday. Carsten Wilde, general manager at Starline Computer GmbH in Germany, said his company has long experience working with Taiwanese firms.
“Our longest relationship is with Infortrend in Taiwan. We started the relationship in 1994, already 25 years now,” Wilde said. “COMPUTEX has changed a lot [over the past decade]. I remember, in the beginning, there was no Nangang [Exhibition Center], and … for the transportation, there was no MRT, just motorcycles.”
“It’s very easy to do business in Taiwan,” he said. “I would like to send [Starline’s] younger people to come to the show. They need to get the experience, get the contact. I think it’s time for the next generation,” he said.
“The procurement meeting contacts are useful because I am meeting new companies, and for me, the future is really like, finding the right corporation partners, which I do not know yet,” said Daniel Selim, product manager for mobile computing with Medion, also based in Germany.
Selim came to COMPUTEX seeking creative ideas, and to meet new vendors. “[The visit] is working out really well, because we have some support. For example, TAITRA was bringing us into contact with many new vendors, but we also have support from Intel, and Microsoft, along with our existing contacts in Taiwan. It’s really easy to get in contact and make new contacts.”
Medion has worked with Taiwanese companies for about 20 years, since the first generation of notebooks. Medion, a powerhouse German electronics firm, was among the first German companies to independently source tech products from Taiwan about 20 years ago, Selim estimated.
He added that in the face-to-face meetings, it’s possible to discover a vendor is developing a product that you hadn’t considered before, that might be a match for your company and market. “I think it’s a really good approach to meet new people,” Selim said.
Ockert Herbst, sales and procurement manager for Wootware, a distributor of high-end gaming systems in South Africa echoed that sentiment.
“We come through every year to try and find some new brands that we can add to our catalog. We do have some local distributors that we can buy computing goods from in South Africa, but as you can imagine, the market there is pretty specific. So if we can find something ourselves, that works out to be a lot more profitable for us, and a lot better for the customers if we can bring it in directly,” Herbst said. “It’s not always as easy to get a good relationship going, but if even just one or two companies get added to the catalog, it’s well worth it. We end up offering very good value to our customers.
“About three years back, we started dealing with [Taiwanese computer hardware manufacturer] Super Flower [Computer Inc], and that’s what sparked all of this,” he said.
He describes his first COMPUTEX experience as amazing. “We have small trade shows in South Africa because the market is much smaller. I couldn’t imagine the scale; it’s really been an awesome experience.”
Face-to-face meetings give vendors the opportunity to explain why their products are distinctive and could work for buyers, Herbst said.
“The average approach of just looking it up online doesn’t really give you that much insight. Meeting someone who can instantly answer any question gets that info through much quicker,” he added.
Based in the United Kingdom, Captec provides industrial systems for factory automation and machine vision, said application engineer Ben Curtis.
“We’re looking at vendors who can provide us with products that have longevity, stable platforms, robustness, good quality. We come every year; we have a number of suppliers to touch base with.”
Curtis said he was “really impressed with what’s on display. I’ve had a chance to look around the halls, the industrial vendors. Everyone has been helpful.”
One benefit to the procurement meeting format is that “…it’s a very good way of opening your eyes to supply partners you may have never considered speaking to. And it’s so vast downstairs in the halls, you’re not going to get a chance to go see everyone, and maybe what they’re offering you on their stand is not showing what they can do completely or bring to us in our business,” he said.
Pacificomm Australia Ltd. National Sales Manager Lorant Corba said his gaming gear company may see benefits from visiting COMPUTEX this year.
“I found a couple of potential leads that I will follow up on, or they’ll follow up with me, and we’ll take it from there after we do some due diligence,” he said.
Ilhom Sanginov is head of PC components and networking branch at MTI in Ukraine. MTI represents several businesses, many of which have long relationships with Taiwanese vendors, he said. MTI has worked with MSI since 2002, with ASUS and GIGABYTE joining the supply chain in the intervening years. While the show is already interesting, Sanginov stressed the need for buyers to determine what the market says about new products, and whether vendors will really support the company after production.
Sanginov said that every year that he has come to COMPUTEX, he has spotted the leading edge of a new trend.