Merkel pins hopes on IT as world's top tech fair opens

Mar 04, 2013 by Richard Carter

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday said the IT industry was one of the key potential sources for growth in the crisis-hit eurozone, as she opened the world's biggest high-tech fair.

Formally inaugurating the CeBIT fair here, Merkel said that while "a lot" had been done to stabilise the euro, "we still talk about creating growth without really having an answer as to where this growth is going to come from."

"The IT industry is without doubt one of the possibilities and one of my dreams ... is to create the same founding conditions for all small IT companies everywhere in Europe," said Merkel.

Hours earlier, Germany's IT industry lobby BITKOM forecast sales growth in 2013 to rise by 1.4 percent to 153.3 billion euros ($199 billion), driven by a solid market in smartphones and .

While a slight drop from the 2.2 percent seen last year, the forecast is still considerably higher than the 0.4 percent total overall growth for the German economy, the largest in Europe, noted BITKOM president Dieter Kempf.

Sales of tablet computers in Germany were expected to rise by 11 percent to 2.3 billion euros, the lobby forecast. "Sales of tablets should for the first time show the same sales levels as desktop PCs," predicted Kempf.

The BITKOM figures also showed a near-complete transformation from standard mobile phones to smartphones in the past four years.

In 2009, smartphones accounted for just 17 percent of phones sold and 34 percent of the turnover.

By the end of 2013, they were expected to account for 81 percent of units sold and 96 percent of the sales in the 8.8-billion euro German market.

Global IT spending was expected to rise this year by 5.1 percent to 2.7 trillion euros, forecast BITKOM, with India (+13.9 percent), Brazil (+9.6 percent) and China (+8.9 percent) the biggest growth markets.

"There is a shift in the 2013 country ranking: China has overtaken Japan and is for the first time the second biggest national market," said Kempf.

China holds 9.5 percent of the global IT market, now ahead of Japan with 8.3 percent. Both Asian giants are still comfortably behind the United States, which enjoys a 26.8-percent share of the world's technology market.

Around 4,100 exhibitors from some 70 countries are expected in the northern German city of Hanover for the CeBIT fair, including tech giants Microsoft, SAP, IBM and Google.

This year's theme is "shareconomy", the increasing trend of users sharing data and things, with examples being car sharing and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk, from this year's partner country Poland, also implored the European Union to come up with ways to make the recession-wracked continent more innovative.

"The debt crisis, the financial market crisis, is not the only problem. We have to fight the crisis but day in, day out, but we have to provide answers to the questions of how to secure the competitiveness of Europe," said Tusk.

Also present at the inauguration ceremony was the chief executive of European aerospace giant EADS, Tom Enders, who called for a closer cooperation between the IT sector and the aerospace industry.

The CeBIT opens its door formally tomorrow, with a host of head-spinning and innovative gadgets awaiting the tens of thousands expected to stream through the hangar-like halls in the northern city of Hanover.

This year's hits include a "3D printer" that creates objects from a computer read-out, a chair for couch potatoes that turns into a rowing machine if you get too fat and a "smart" shopping trolley that does the supermarket run for you.

Also likely to draw attention is a 3D display allowing users to scroll through precious mediaeval books with just a wave of the hand, tomes that are normally banished behind a glass case or touchable only with white gloves.

The runs until March 9.

Explore further: China's Xiaomi raises more than $1 bn in funding

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tablets, smartphones drive German IT market higher

Mar 04, 2013

A booming market for smartphones and tablet computers was expected to drive the German IT sector higher in 2013, although growth was slowing slightly, said industry lobby BITKOM on the eve of the world's ...

China overtakes Japan on IT spending

Feb 27, 2013

China has overtaken Japan in terms of its share of global IT spending, German IT industry organisation BITKOM said Wednesday, ahead of the CeBIT, the world's biggest high-tech trade fair.

German high-tech sector holds up: trade group

Mar 02, 2009

Germany's high-tech industry expects to buck the economic crisis this year with sales stagnating but not sinking, its chief lobby group said on Monday on the eve of the giant CeBIT trade fair.

German high-tech sector flat in 2010: trade body

Mar 01, 2010

Germany's high-tech industry is not expected to return to growth until 2011 after a devastating recession in 2009, its chief lobby group said Monday ahead of the giant CeBIT trade fair.

Recommended for you

China's Xiaomi raises more than $1 bn in funding

10 hours ago

China's top smartphone seller Xiaomi Corp. is raising more than $1 billion in a fresh round of funding, a move which would raise its valuation above $45 billion, a report said Sunday.

Why the Sony hack isn't big news in Japan

Dec 20, 2014

Japan's biggest newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, featured a story about Sony Corp. on its website Friday. It wasn't about hacking. It was about the company's struggling tablet business.

Sony faces 4th ex-employee lawsuit over hack

Dec 20, 2014

A former director of technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment has sued the company over the data breach that resulted in the online posting of his private financial and personal information.

Sony tells AFP it still plans movie release

Dec 20, 2014

Sony Pictures boss Michael Lynton denied Friday the Hollywood studio has "caved" by canceling the release of "The Interview," and said it still hoped to release the controversial film.

2012 movie massacre hung over 'Interview' decision

Dec 19, 2014

When a group claiming credit for the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment threated violence against theaters showing "The Interview" earlier this week, the fate of the movie's big-screen life was all but ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.