India should support the free flow of products and ideas across borders: IFA Director

How has CE China evolved over the last few years?

We are satisfied with the development of CE China. The decision to move to Guangzhou and to September was an important step in this regard. Guangzhou offers ideal conditions with its strong base of manufacturers and brands and its tradition as one of the most important trade show locations in China. In September, we are where our retail and industry partners want us to be of help in preparation for Singles Day, the important sales event in China, and the end of year business season in Asia. The premiere of eight new products by Chinese retail giant Suning here may serve as a good proof.

What’s your vision for CE China in the coming years?

Most of all, CE China is part of the global IFA family and as such we will continue to provide the best platform for networking between brands, retailers and media. According to the huge potential of the Chinese consumer market, our show once again just kickstarted its pan-Asian activities to grow substantially in the near future.

What is the role of IFA University? How is it being used by your partners and retailers?

IFA Retail University is important in the effort to bring together international brands and Asian retailers. It serves as an information source and communication tool for both. To that end, different brands and market research companies deliver deep and first hand insights about how to best present products and what market trends are observable.

There are many innovations happening after the emergence of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, IoT and robotics. What are the new business opportunities especially for consumer electronics and appliances makers from these technologies?

Clearly, smart home continues to be a major case for these technologies. However, other segments in our lives also become upgraded, especially the mobility sector. Here at CE China, visitors can witness the trends of new mobility, including autonomous driving.

Is the time right for IFA to host such a big event in India considering the substantial growth in electronics manufacturing led by mobile?

Basically, the Indian market is highly interesting for us for many years. This means we are always considering different options to further serve international consumer markets and grow the global IFA family. Nevertheless we will be of help if our industry and retail partners want us to be present within the market.

On policy level, what should India do to replicate the success of China?

For one thing, support the free flow of products and ideas across borders. Innovation strongly depends on the ability of the industry to exchange ideas and products. During our shows in Berlin, New York and Guangzhou we coined the term #coinnovation for that.

India has eased foreign direct investment norms on single retail brand. What’s your views on this especially for European and Chinese consumer electronics makers? How can they leverage on this opportunity?

The success of retail brands depends on a wide range of factors. Eased foreign direct investment certainly helps. Key to success, however, remains a sound understanding of the foreign market you long to enter.

How important is the Indian market becoming for China given the trade war going on with its biggest trading ally US?

Given the current situation with its insecurities, we feel that sincere predictions about market developments cannot be made. But surely there will always be good opportunities.

Are you planning any exclusive expos for start-ups in tech innovation?

No, that’s not in line with our philosophy. With IFA Next we have established a flourishing format at IFA Berlin which naturally embeds and targets start-ups as one major source of knowledge, interaction and innovation. Even a start-up cannot create a substantial break-through innovation by itself.


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