Austrade seeks innovators at CeBIT

The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) is calling for expressions of interest from IT innovators wanting to exhibit at CeBIT, arguably the world's largest IT trade show.

CeBIT 2001 will be held in Hannover, Germany in March next year and includes more than 7000 exhibitors and 750,000 visitors over one week.

"CeBIT is the only exhibition centre I know of that has two train stations," said Walter Gheller, national manager for Information Communications Technology at Austrade. "In one week it attracts in excess of 750,000 visitors, so it is probably the best entry point for developers who want to meet people on the ground."

Gheller said that space for the exhibition is allocated well in advance of the event, and already it is proving to be a bit of a squeeze. One option for Australian innovators is to gain a space through Austrade, which is co-ordinating a national stand and selling off the space in blocks with additional services. In recent years, however, there has been a downturn in the number of Australian companies exhibiting through Austrade's marketing scheme.

"Because space has already been allocated, the only way a new company can get a space is through a trade facilitator like Austrade," Gheller said.

Austrade provides Australian exhibitors with a range of services including the stall, a listing in the CeBIT directory, mail-outs, access to a private meeting room and invitations to networking functions.

Gheller points to the example of 21 Australian companies which exhibited at CeBIT 2000, whose efforts paid off through sales leads and distribution agreements. Collectively, the 21 companies secured $10.79 million in on-site sales, 374 quality leads for further sales and reported the signing of nine distribution agreements.

"Unlike Australia, Europe is a trade show-driven economy," said Gheller. "Marketing and serious business negotiations are conducted at shows where the critical mass is gathered under one roof, overcoming European regionalisation."

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