Asia's largest exhibition of high-tech products opened with many major international firms showcasing flat-panel digital televisions and DVD recorders to lure tech-savvy consumers.
Almost 670 firms, including 193 foreign companies, exhibiting everything from semiconductor chips to computer-managed home security systems are taking part in CEATEC (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technology) in Japan.
Organizers expect 180,000 visitors to the show, up from the 173,000 who came to last year's event, a CEATEC spokesman Mikio Horai said.
"Consumers' interest in digital appliances, especially audio and visual equipment, has been rising every year as firms launch new and more sophisticated products," he said. "Terrestrial digital broadcasting will start in Japan from December. With that, many participating exhibitors are showcasing their latest digital television sets and recording media ahead of the Christmas sales season."
Electronics giant Toshiba Corp. was showing off its latest range of flat-panel televisions and DVD recorders that can be connected to the Internet so that users can control them via Internet-capable mobile phones.
"Toshiba believes we are at the stage where consumers are gradually changing their household appliances from analogue-based products to digital appliances. Our firm is offering products that allow the public to make smooth transition to the era of digital appliances," said Shinji Matsukubo, a Toshiba spokesman.
The number of exhibitors fell from last year's 754 in part because organizers declined to accept participation of many firms from regions hit by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), such as Beijing and Singapore, event spokesman Horai added. (AFP)
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