Chinese firms set the tone for a new era of tech innovation at top exhibition
From futuristic electric cars to the thinnest laptops in the world, Chinese tech companies are showing their muscle at the first major technology expo in 2016 that is set to open in the United States later this week.
Two days before the official kickoff of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, the competition for eyeballs is already on.
More than 1,100 Chinese companies making up more than a quarter of the 3,600 exhibitors will be present at this year's CES.
Last year's event attracted at least 550 Chinese companies. About 470 were from Shenzhen, Guangdong province. The city, which borders Hong Kong, has been the world's largest electronics manufacturing hub, making smartphones, tablets and wearables for international buyers.
With a strong manufacturing power waiting for orders, Chinese companies are turning the technology show into a trade event.
Companies from China have taken out sprawling booths on the show floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Major TV makers like Hisense Co Ltd and Sichuan Changhong Electric Co Ltd have stalls next to Intel Corp, the US semiconductor giant, in prime locations of the main hall at the convention center.
"CES is a weather vane for the consumer electronics technologies and that is why we have been participating in this event for 11 years," Qingdao, Shandong-based appliances vendor Haier Group said in a statement. The company aims to introduce a robot that can detect dangers such as gas leaks in kitchen.
"Make no mistake, the Chinese have arrived," Tim Bajarin, president of research firm Creative Strategies Inc, wrote on Time.com. He said the increased presence of Chinese companies resembles how Japanese players embraced CES in the early 1990s.
But for top-tier companies, CES remains a good opportunity to showcase their technology advantages.
Faraday Future, an electric automobile startup backed by Beijing-based LeTV Holdings Co Ltd, unveiled a concept car that looks like a mix of a Bugatti Veyron and Batman's armored motor vehicle the Batmobile－a fit for an event designed to showcase the next-generation technologies.
Standing in a massive temporary tent opposite the pyramid-shaped Luxor Hotel, FF's senior vice-president Nick Sampson said the technologies introduced this year will drive the company to challenge existing electric carmakers such as Tesla Motors Inc in the future.
"We are embarking on nothing less than a complete rethink of what mobility means," Sampson said. He added it is building a new factory in Nevada that will hire 4,500 employees and its first retail version vehicle will be a few years away.
Also on Tuesday, the world's largest personal computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd put on stage a convertible made of carbon fiber that is as thin as 12.8 millimeters and weighs 999 grams.
The Chinese company, which is eyeing overseas sales for more than half of its revenue, has a tradition of displaying latest flagship products during the CES that is packed with global investors, analysts and reporters.