CES Asia 2019 took place amidst turbulent times between Trump’s United States and Xi Jinping’s China at the height of an ongoing trade war. Tariffs have hit consumers and producers in both countries greatly, with no foreseeable end in sight.
Held in Las Vegas, CES, an annual trade show organised by the US-based Consumer Trade Association (CTA), had expanded operations with CES Asia. Held in Shanghai, China annually since its inception in 2015, it had always been at the forefront of technological exchange between the US and Asia.
“We do not support tariffs”, the president and CEO of the CTA Gary Shapiro stated, when asked about his thoughts on the ongoing trade dispute between the two countries.
CES Asia, instead, had seen a dramatic increase in the number of American companies participating. And this can all be attributed to the fact that CES Asia serves more as a platform for technology companies in the whole of Asia, not just China.
This was reflected in the increasing number of regional companies participating – Singapore-based WHYRE one of them, showcasing their Argon Helmet AVS system with dual cameras for unparalleled situational awareness while on a motorbike.
This year, there were more than 8,000 participating organisations, up from 4,000 just five years ago. There had also been a marked increase in the participation of start-ups, with a whole hall dedicated them out of the six full halls at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre – the largest show floor for the event to date.
German carmaker Audi showcased its AI:ME concept car at the show, developed entirely indigenously in China. With ever-rising tariffs, China has gone on to develop an entire category of luxury cars where it was once dominated by American imports from the likes of Cadillac and Ford. While several American car manufacturers were represented on the show floor,
With the burgeoning market for technology in fashion and travel & tourism domains, along with the rise of smart city solutions, CES Asia looks at a bigger picture than many other trade shows do. This had included everything from facial recognition systems that allow for improved security, to indoor smart growing technologies that maximise arable space in land-scarce cities, and to even AI-powered service robots that reduce the strain on labour-scarce cities with dwindling birth rates.
Free, open exchange between China and US would be able to leverage on some of the most successful start-ups in Silicon Valley alongside the brightest and most industrious enterprises in Shenzhen – and then, who knows what’s next?