Thursday, February 05, 2009 | Dominique K. Numakura - DKN Research
One of the major conventions for electronic packaging and assembling was held at the Tokyo Big Sight for three days beginning January 28, 2009. The show had a name change this year and is now called NEPCON World. Each year, the exhibition grows larger and larger and continuously adds new events. The huge floors of the East and West Hall were fully occupied with more than 1,200 exhibitors.
INTERNEPCON Japan is still the largest part of the huge exhibition, but the show occupies only one-third of the space. Two-thirds of the floor is reserved by Electro Test Japan, Laser & Optics, Printed Circuit Expo, Semiconductor Packaging Technology and Car Electronics Technologies. This year, more than 160 companies representing car electronics related devices were featured in a newly launched show at NEPCON World.
Before the doors opened, most of us were speculating on the number of visitors the show would attract during this economic slowdown. Unfortunately, the pessimistic views came to fruition. The crowd size that formed at the registration lines on the first day was similar to previous years. However, the lines dwindled within a half-hour, and staff at the registration counter was not very busy. I estimate the number of visitors during the first day was less than half compared to previous years. Visitors navigated from both to booth without fighting any crowds. The second and third days were much better, but there is no question that NEPCON World had fewer visitors than previous years due to the market recession.
Another sign of a worldwide recession was the reduced number of foreign visitors--especially from Korea, Taiwan and China. In previous years, we could hear a lot of Korean and Chinese conversations from the tour groups originating from these countries. It was very quiet this year. Some blamed poor attendance on the Lunar New Year holidays that were celebrated during the same week as the show; however, this is not the reason. Korean and Taiwanese business men are savvy and ambitious, and would not let a holiday get in the way of hustling some business during the show. In previous years they would visit Japan for business and celebrate the holiday season while in the country. The real reason for the reduction was that most companies in these counties prohibited all overseas trips because of a downturn in business.
During a tour of the exhibition, I observed many resting and meeting areas between booths. I counted more than fifty, and could not remember seeing them last year, and thought it odd that this prime display space was used for nothing. Then, I realized these empty spaces were cancellations from companies who reserved booths last year. The companies who face serious financial difficulties canceled their reservations and forfeited their down payments. Several companies did not cancel their reservations, but sent no display materials or personnel to work the booths. There were only name tags at these locations.
Next week's newsletter will detail additional observations from the show.
Dominique K. Numakura
DKN Research, www.dknresearch.com
Headlines of the Week
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2. Furukawa Electric (Major cable supplier in Japan) 1/26
The supplier has developed a new green color laser (532 nm) utilizing a fiber laser as the light source.