No longer 'catching up'
Updated: 2015-01-09 12:40
By Chang Jun and Lian Zi(China Daily USA)
A curved TV produced by Chinese electronic manufacturer Haier is displayed at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Photos by Eric Jou / chinadaily.com.cn
The world's biggest gadget show ended on Friday in Las Vegas. For Chinese companies, the international Consumer Electronics Show (CES) meant moving from being adapters and modifiers to innovators, report CHANG JUN and LIAN ZI from Las Vegas.
They represented one-fourth of the 3,600 exhibitors displaying the coolest gadgets, gizmos and doodads, and this year Chinese presenters at the international Consumer Electronics Show (CES) showed their own "cool".
Occupying some of the 2.2 million square feet of exhibition space in Las Vegas, the companies showcased innovative rather than just new adaptations and modifications.
Chinese companies are converting from the "fast followers" (of Western technology and products), to showing more and more innovation and leadership, Jerry Yang, co-founder and former CEO of search engine giant Yahoo, told China Daily.
"I no longer see it as 'catching up' - rather, Chinese entrepreneurs focus on the massive domestic Chinese market and are innovating accordingly," said Yang.
It is more of a parallel innovation track, whereby Chinese companies can take advantage of a large merchant base, growth in third- and fourth-tier cities, mobile and commerce, and a continued manufacturing advantage, he said.
In addition to Lenovo and Alibaba, companies such as Tencent Holdings Ltd and Xiaomi Corp are examples of continued innovation. Many of these companies, such as Baidu Inc, are also setting up R&D centers in the US, said Yang.
Since 2001, Chinese companies have been taking part in the show and demonstrating a significant increase in the pace of innovations
This year, all major Chinese high-tech brands, including Hisense, Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo, TCL and Alibaba, showcased innovative ideas in their products.
Many of the companies are closely following international trends and allocating resources to produce the next billion-dollar market, be it in audio, automotive electronics, gaming, video and 4K ultra High Definition, wireless services, digital imaging and photography, and the Internet of Things (IoT), a topic and phrase heard frequently at the show throughout this week.
Some of the deep-pocketed Chinese companies, TCL and Lenovo, also used the show that ended Friday to announce the acquisition of a Western brand and the revitalization of an otherwise diminishing US brand.
Lenovo Group Ltd showcased more than 20 new products, including phones, tablets, laptops, convertibles and a wristband. Most were being shown outside China for the first time.
Tech giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, exhibited more than 100 products at the show.
Among its new products, TCL Multimedia, based in Huizhou, Guangdong province, unveiled a 110-inch ultra high-definition television with a curved screen, the largest such model in the world.
ZTE unveiled its latest smart projectors. ZTE said the products reflect its focus on creating new consumer experiences for connecting to the mobile Internet.
Cheng Lixin, chairman and CEO of ZTE USA, said that as more consumers use connected devices, device makers and carriers are under pressure to create a seamless and more personalized experience.
"We are making significant improvements in user experiences through our consumer experience unit, and consumer interests will be at the heart of everything we imagine, build and deliver in 2015," Cheng said.
This year, CES designated large exhibition space to vendors offering digital products in sports, fitness and health and wellness.
Shawn Dubravac, chief economist for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), said he thought there will be fast growth in such products because consumers want to be empowered participants in their healthcare by measuring and monitoring their wellness on a continuous basis.