International information and telecommunications trade show CeBit is heading down under with the launch of CeBit Australia in Sydney in May 2002.
Managing director of Deutsche Messe, Jorg Schomburg, organiser of the CeBit events, said he saw potential here for another trade show as Australia is a "high tech" country.
"We are only ready to run the show in one city per continent. We saw expansion possibilities outside of Germany as we did not want to increase the fair ground there, because it is already too huge to get around."
Currently CeBit operates in Hannover, Istanbul, Shanghai and now Sydney.
CeBit Australia will incorporate the Australian Information Industry Association's (AIIA) Software Showcase. The AIIA has given a commitment for three years, "with a view to long term" to act as the host association for the event.
Rob Durie, AIIA executive director, said he expected teaming up with Hannover Fairs Australia, organisers of CeBit Australia, would raise audiences by three to four times.
"CeBit has the right audience as it targets business customers. It also gives us an international connection."
Schomburg said the company had decided to forego an arrangement with the Australian Telecommunications Userss Group (which "brought" the CeBit name to Australia for its annual conference, now2001), as it was too "telecommunications focused". He said the AIIA had a similar structure to that of CeBit, and its sister organisation in Germany was already a parallel partner for CeBit Hannover.
Attendance in recent years by Australian companies at CeBit Hannover has steadily decreased. However, despite an economic downturn, which has affected the trade fair arena, Schomburg said exhibitors at Hannover next year will increase to 42, from 26 this year.
Unlike in other countries, promotion of the CeBit event had rested solely with Austrade. However, due to a privatisation of trade fairs by Austrade, Hannover Fairs and AIIA are now involved in promoting the event among local IT companies.
Schomburg said trade shows have changed over the years and definitely reflect changing trends.
"Twenty years ago CeBit was a pure hardware show; 1980 was the first time we had 20 software houses. In 2000, more than half the exhibitors were in software and services. In 1986, we introduced telecommunications companies, now telcos will be the largest exhibitor next year."
Schomburg said the most popular categories at next year's show will be the Internet, e-commerce, m-commerce, mobile and UMTS (universal mobile telecommunications service).