You'd be forgiven for being overwhelmed by the sheer scale of Taitronics 2014, a sprawling ode to Taiwanese technology in the capital city of the world's manufacturing powerhouse.
Opened with a spirited routine from a luminescent hip hop dance group (and a bevy of slightly less gangster Chairmen) Taitronics 2014 is Taiwan's most eminent electronics trade show. From October 6 - 9 it will officially opened its doors to over 500 exhibitors and thousands of guests.
We're on the ground in Taipei to cover this prestigious event, which is now in its 40th year. Taitronics has one of the longest exhibition histories in Taiwan, and stands as an important trading platform for buyers and sellers in the industry.
Encompassing over 1,200 booths, the sheer scale of Taitronics 2014 is testament to Taiwan's position as a technological leader. Its ICT output is number two in the world, second only to the US, and is growing rapidly.
This year's show has been built around four strong pillars, or themes: Broadband, cloud, home appliances and the Internet of Things. With the slogan "Green electronics, Smart living," Taitronics 2014 aims to help businesses ease into the age of mobility with the environment as a key focus.
This is not an idle statement either. Last year's show allowed companies to chalk up deals worth US$45 million (£28.1 million) and at the rate global economies have gained momentum in 2014, this year is expected to be even more prosperous.
Stay tuned for the latest news and developments from the Nangang centre in Taipei over the coming days.
- 09 October
Stay tuned for a full write up of everything we learned from this year's show - but in the meantime, we're off to get some pork dumplings. In the meantime, 再見!
But that's it from Taitronics 2014! The doors have closed, and the 40th show of the oldest electronics trade show in Taiwan is officially over.
Just check out the conclusion from this fascinating conference earlier at the show to see what we mean.
This show has brought in one place the very best of those manufacturers, who are now looking forward to the new trends that will shape the industry over the next few years - including the Internet of Things and wearables. How exactly to achieve those ambitions in an environmentally way, however, is a key concern of Taiwan.
The country has always been a manufacturing powerhouse, and its companies maintain their positions as key players in creating the components that make our every day gadgets tick. From connectors to resistors, lenses to silicone, you can bet that Taiwan has had a hand in your smartphones, PCs and tablets.
Apart from sporting facts, however, Taitronics 2014 has been a real eye-opener into how Taiwan views its role in the global technology industry.
Taiwan's Olympic teams compete under the name "Chinese Taipei". For delicate and complex political reasons (in the same vein as Taiwan's non-status within the UN) Taiwanese athletes will march, as usual, under the banner of "Chinese Taipei."
Pretty interesting stuff, but not as interesting as the third fun fact of the day:
Taitronics's IoT pavilion explains that because the global shipment of wearables in 2014 is only expected to be 22.8 million in 2014, Taiwan's major ODM / OEMs consider it to be a small addressable market. However, considering Taiwan's prowess in hardware architecture, it would not be surprising if it becomes a key player in manufacturing these devices in the future.
Interestingly though, wearables are only a small part of Taiwain's electronics industry. However, terminals have always been a strategic focus for Taiwan, and the majority of wearable assembly is done by handset OEM /EMSs.
It is predicted that Tawanese network and equipment manufacturers will post a revenue of NTD$42.39 billion (£862.3 million) in 2014.
According to the pavilion's industry map, Taiwanese players are the global leaders in OEM and assembly of wireless communication equipment. In terms of ODM and assembly, Taiwanese companies have the largest global share in multiple network and communication projects, including Cable CPE and DSL CPE.
Last year, for example, the global market for wireless communication equipment was worth $356 billion (£219 billion,) with Taiwan and China leading in terms of production cost and capacity.
At the Internet of Things pavilion, we found out some pretty interesting statistics about how Taiwan is supporting this popular buzzword's growth by manufacturing a big chunk of the components we'll need for connected living.
However, now the official language is Mandarin, with secondary recognition for Taiwanese Hokkien, Hakka and Formosan.
Second fun fact of the day: Taiwan was once home to as many as 26 distinct native languages, since it was a hotbed of Austronesian culture.
I'm not utterly convinced that something which comes in such luminescent colours can be totally, naturally biodegradable, but it's still refreshing to see a company who's attempting to explore products with an eco-friendly ethos. Besides. We were all very impressed by our new 100 per cent silicone necklaces.
Do a Google search on Silicone, and you'll see its non-toxicity is one of the reasons its so popular in manufacturing cookware for cakes and baking. According to one site, it's a mineral that comes from rocks, meaning it's inherently natural.
"It's also easily decomposed," he says. "It can be deposited into soil with few effects on aquatic organisms because it does not contain any heavy metals or hazardous substances."
He claims that it's non-toxic, and can withstand temperatures anywhere between -40 degrees Celsius to 220 degrees Celsius.
How much do you know about Silicone? Malissa Huang, the exporting manager for Great Rubber, claims that Silicone is so widely used around the world because of its "healthy" properties.
Founded in 1979, it has factories in Taipei, Shanghai, Huizhou, Yangzhou, Hong Kong with 40 per cent of its market situated in Europe.
Not to be constricted, it's also recently branched out into consumer-based products including kitchen ware (like colourful spatulas and spoons) and toys (like kids' purses and keyring torches.)
It specialises in creating specialised silicon rubber products for the electronics industry, including keyboards and protective cases for devices.
It's interesting, because Taiwan is clearly a country that cares about waste and its carbon footprint. The next company we've come to see is Great Rubber LTD, whose ethos is clear in its mantra: "Healthy, Eco-Friendly, Creatively."
Check it out:
Fun fact about Taiwan we discovered last night: The refuse trucks that go around collecting the bins at night plays a song not dissimilar to the catchy tunes our ice cream vans belt out.
Check out KST's product page for a full overview of the terminals, connectors and waterproof accessories it sells.
We've found that a lot of the companies we've spoken to were founded in the early 70s, and it makes a lot of sense since that period saw the most rapid period of inflation in Taiwan for decades. They got their foot in the door just in time.
The company was founded in 1973 and, like most businesses in Taiwan, started out as a family run affair.
Despite the niche nature of its product, its stand is surprisingly colourful. Hundreds of connectors, terminals and table ties are laid out under glass cases in every colour of the rainbow, looking more like candied sugar than plastic or copper.
KSTerminals is a company that specialises in manufacturing connectors for electronics, lighting systems and cars.
We have a final few hours to explore the floor, talk to some of Taiwan's top chipmakers, smartphone and computer vendors, and to siphon off all the remaining dumplings we can find - we won't be missing a thing.
Welcome to the final day of the 40th Taitronics electronics show!
- 08 October
We'll have a bevy of new products and companies for you tomorrow, plus the latest from the floor at Taitronics 2014. It's the end of the day now here in Taipei though, so see you then!
A shame then, that the information leaflet (fronted by the silhouette of a hot woman leaning into a walkie talkie) lists the fact that it can "conquer all enemies." The facts should speak for themselves.
With temperature measurement capabilities, a built in engineering calculator, SMD resistance coding, colour coding information, and attentuator calculation application software all built in, it really is a decent oscillator.
The Angel GDS-320 model has a bandwidth of 200 MHz with a 1GSa/s sample rate. Its 30,000 consecutive waveform records logging function, and you can replay measurement results on screen any time.
The Angel Oscilloscope's 7in display is fully touch-screen, usable in both landscape and portrait, and packs capacitive LCD with multipoint control. It is genuinely one of the most ergonomic devices of its type we've ever seen.
Honestly though, this is a classic case of bad branding that actually detracts from a really good product.
For those who are in the market for a new oscilloscope and are looking for a new product, Good Will Instruments list in its official pamphlet of the new "Angel oscilloscope" is "petite yet sexy. Powerful inside."
Well, whatever analyses your spectrum I guess.
Answer: It's at Taitronics to sell its brand new product. A digital oscilloscope.
A super sleek smartphone, perhaps? Maybe a new piece of fashionable wearable technology? Or (whisper it) an Internet connected vibrator?
So taking a look at Good Will Instrument's shiny new slogan for this year's show, "Sexy and Beyond," what do you think it sells?
But still, even that can't compare to the second company we visited today, Good Will Instrument.
So some stalls are pulling out all the bells and whistles to bring in the punters - check out the underwater camera earlier down the liveblog, for example.
However, even the most straight-laced of guests may not always be won over by a free pen and a perfectly presented business card (even if it DOES have a watermark.)
Now, Taitronics is an electronics trade show with its beady eye fixed on enterprise and industrial companies, so it makes sense that a lot of the stalls are fairly corporate.
Seriously though, we've got our fingers crossed that London decides to do the same in future - it's so useful for those who don't have unlimited data plans.
That's great news for my spiralling data roaming bill.
Every building, monument and public space has free, open Wi-Fi access, and all the main roads too.
Fun fact we just learned: Anywhere you go in Taipei, you can connect to free public Wi-Fi.
The discomfort of straining all your focus into just one eye was one of our biggest issues with Google's smart specs, but you can read our full opinion (and watch the team getting their hands on Glass) in the review here.
This is its own version of Google Glass which has two lenses to project the smart screen in front of you. It's certainly a lot easier on the eyes (literally) since in Google Glass the display is projected in front of your right eye only.
We've already been to visit Universal Microelectronics LTD., which packed into its booth as many interesting products as there are syllables in its name.
Still, we'll be fighting the fatigue (and the dodgy Wi-Fi) today to bring you the best coverage from Taitronics 2014.
The congregation of bleary-eyed journalists in the Taitronics lobby this morning confirms that, despite our best attempts to get some shut eye, the jet lag won out after all.
- 07 October
But it's 10 to 10pm here in Taipei, which means we're getting ready for some shut eye ahead of day 3 tomorrow. Check back then for more from the floor at Taitronics 2014 - night!
Speaking of TY-OHM, here's the full spotlight piece on their fascinating company. The article is not as bad as the terrible pun in the title.
TY-OHM believed that manufacturing in China rather than Taiwan was cheaper, and still equally as good quality. Clearly this is a contentious issue amongst Taiwanese businesses at the moment.
Becker had a very different perspective to TY-OHM, however, on the best manufacturing practices. "We are currently trying to move production back to Taiwan using semi-automation or full-automation," he told us. "It's more expensive, but in 3 years we're hoping to level costs. Taiwan labour is more reliable, so the quality of the labour is better."
In fact, Coxco is the world's biggest HDMI display board manufacturer, with over 80 per cent market share. It is also the largest supplier to Dell and HP, so a pretty big fish.
It turns out it's no small operation. Coxcox manufactures a wide range of products from HDMI cables to USB drives that can be used with your tablet and computer before switching (Transformers style) into an SD card for your smartphone.
We spoke to its Vice general manager, Chang Becker, about how the company goes about raking in its USD$83 million of revenue every year.
We then stopped by Chant Sincere LTD., otherwise known as Coxcox, whose customers include SanDisk, TomTom, Panasonic, HP, Dell, Western Digital, Siemens and HTC.
The camera is designed by the Taiwanese company Kinsun, which is somewhat of an expert when it comes to manufacturing waterproof technologies. You can check out its other products here.
It's like Inception in a picture.
If you look to the right of the tank, that's the image of me that the waterproof camera is capturing as I try to capture it in a photo.
And Taiwan clearly has its eye on the global market trends. Check out this underwater camera that wouldn't look out of place next to the Sony M2 Aqua.
"Absolutely not," we were assured. It's an interesting step change as Taiwan focuses more on the invention of technologies rather than their physical creation.
Does this not affect the quality though?
It did say, however, that despite Taiwan's fame as a manufacturing powerhouse, a lot of its production happens on mainland China because it's cheaper.
TY-OHM focuses on resistors for power supply application, and had some pretty interesting things to say about the differences in attitudes to technology from its customers around the world. Keep your eyes peeled on ITProPortal for the full story which will be going up soon.
The booth is packed with glass cases showing off each one of TY-OHM's products. From Metal oxide flameproof resistors, power type wire wound resistors, power moulded resistors, anti-pulse non-inductive wound resistors – the only way you'll see more resistors in one place is if you go stand with the student protesters in Hong Kong.
The company was established way back in 1958, and quickly established itself as a pioneer of resistors manufacturing in Taiwan - and taking a glance at its stand, packed with every type of resistor you could dream of, its not hard to see why.
We kick started day 2 of Taitronics by paying a visit to TY-OHM at its stand in the centre of the exhibition hall.
Well it's 4.30 am back in the UK, but the day is nearly halfway through here in Taipei - and it's been a packed morning.
- 06 October
That wraps up the introduction to Taitronics 2014 for today, but check back tomorrow for more news, products and updates from Taiwan's biggest electronics show.
There were also these people all engaged in some sort of exercise bike marathon, hooked up to a game with bug-eyed cartoon characters and lots of claxons. We've no idea what the technology was - an Internet connected headache inducer perhaps?
The subtle nature of the passcode log in means that through "Eye Key" no pin numbers can be stolen by peeking or logging. Plus you feel a bit like James Bond doing it. Which is always nice.
It works by you looking at the numbers of your specific pin code, and the software reads which digits you've highlighted.
"Eye Key" is a product that definitely stood out. Made by Utechzone, it uses the latest pupil tracking technology to allow users to unlock doors, access restricted areas in environments like hospitals, visit bank vaults, or authenticate their cards at ATMs.
Heading over to the Internet of Things pavilion, "smart" was the word of the day as we were bombarded with connected innovation after connected innovation.
Having scooped three technology innovation awards for three different products at this year's show, it's clear that Chunghwa telecom is aiming to become a leader in integrating cloud technology with a green ethos and information and communication services.
The roundtable session with Chunghwa Telecom was invaluable in gleaning some insights about what the biggest companies in Taiwan are doing to stake a claim on the global stage.
It means that enterprises' financial conditions and upstream and downstream processes will become transparent, while the enterprises themselves will benefit from reduced costs.
"Chunghwa Telecom is dedicated to developing technologies in the smart traffic field and information and communication. " We were treated to a peek at just some of their new products, including an e-invoice system where all invoices are stored in the cloud.
One of the company directors told us that "the top 10 technology trends in 2014 have proven that cloud, mobile, and big data are going to keep on expanding, and the enterprises' willingness to adopt cloud computation will be raised year by year."
We soon headed over to visit Chunghwa Telecom, which is the largest telecommunications company in Taiwan, to talk about how innovative smart technologies can help us to live a green life.
And Taiwan is hopeful indeed for this brave new world, judging from the thumbs up by the rest of the speakers who opened Taitronics today.
That is one of the reasons why Taitronics 2014 is running in conjunction with the Taiwan International Green Industry show, to find new ways for businesses to deliver clean energy in their everyday running.
The Chairman of Taiwan's External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), Francis Liang, opened the show by saying that Taiwan's electronics industry is booming, but as we move into an increasingly mobile age we need to start thinking about environmentally friendly technologies too.
Entertainment aside though, it became clear that this year's show is all about green technology and smart living.
Things kicked off today in style with a dynamic opening ceremony that included, among other things, a performance from a hip hop dance outfit.
With global economies strengthening and trends like the Internet of Things looming on the horizon, this year's show gives us a fascinating insight into what we can expect from a country that is quickly establishing itself as a world leader in the connected devices space.
And boy is Taiwan's electronics industry booming. Driven by the surging demand for low-end smartphones and tablets in emerging markets, Taiwan's electronic parts and components sectors hit US$30,927 million (£19,351 million) in 2013.
And that really is no exaggeration; running from 6-9 October, Taitronics 2014 is a long-running show that is packed with all the best technologies that Taiwan has to offer.
Ok, ok Google translate had to be used for that for now, but check back in a few days and we will be fluent Mandarin speakers.
Or, "Hello and welcome to our liveblog from Taiwan!"