MUNICH, Germany With a decline of almost 8 percent, significantly fewer visitors found their way to Munich for Electronica than in 2006. However, fair organizer Messe Muenchen said it was satisfied that the show had held up well under difficult circumstances.
According to preliminary figures at the last day of the show, the organizer of the largest electronics trade fair globally counted 72,000 visitors, down 6,000 or 7.7 percent from the past event in 2006. Also the number of exhibitors declined, albeit at a lesser extent. Their number dropped some 5.5 percent to about 2,800.
The number of visitors from western industry nations declined disproportionately. In particular, the organizer recorded fewer attendants from the U.S., the United Kingdom, France and Israel. While visitor figures from Central and Eastern Europe, Taiwan, Brazil, South Africa and Russia rose, the increment from these geographies could not compensate for the fading from the West. Messe Muenchen attributes the declining figures to the current economic situation which led to tighter travel restrictions in companies.
If there was a dominating topic beyond the current industry downturn, it was energy efficiency. The closely watched CEO roundtable with high-ranking managers from the semiconductor industry focused on the chip industry's contribution to climate protection. The participants agreed widely that the problem boils down to energy saving through the use of latest electronics, be it on the level of using energy-saving chips and appliances instead of energy hogs or on the level that electronically implemented intelligence can reduce the waste of energy almost every application area from lighting to transport.
'Green electronics' however was not only a topic at the CEO roundtable but it was a kind of Leitmotiv across the entire fair. This topic is not untypical in times when the industry is running not so well, and it becomes visible every time when energy prices are high. Since both problems currently are rampant, energy efficiency was the natural focal point.
Sentiment and expectations varied widely among visitors and exhibitors. The range of statements noted by EE Times reporters ranged from "almost untouched by the decline" and an appeal not to panic to a distress call for the European chip industry.
Klaus Dittrich, Managing Director of Messe Muenchen, in any case appeared unimpressed by the declining visitor figures and the economical downturn behind them perhaps because he had expected an even stronger impact. He expressed "extreme satisfaction," saying "we are proud that electronica showed its stability in the face of the economic crisis." He interpreted the result as a "clear indication of the importance of the trade fair."