Motorola, Nokia, BenQ bid Cebit adieu

Three of the world's largest manufacturers of mobile phones will not participate at next year's Cebit trade show, following a review of their marketing activities.

BenQ Corp., Motorola Inc. and Nokia Corp. will not have their own booth at the Hanover IT trade show in 2007, and rumors abound that other vendors, particularly in the consumer electronics segment, might also skip the annual event.

"We won't have our own stand at Cebit but will show our products at the stands of our carrier customers who plan to attend the show," a Motorola spokeswoman said Tuesday. The spokeswoman declined to comment on reasons for the Cebit pullout, saying only the company has made changes to its trade fair marketing strategy in Europe.

On Monday, BenQ Corp. and its cellular arm, BenQ Mobile GmbH & Co. OHG, announced its decision not to exhibit at Cebit. The Taiwanese manufacturing group is currently considering a joint appearance at the annual IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin in line with its greater focus on consumer electronics products, it said in a statement.

BenQ Mobile, which has taken over the mobile phone manufacturing operations of Siemens AG, also plans to extend its engagement at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, the manufacturer said.

Last month, Nokia, the world's largest handset maker, disclosed its decision to withdraw from Cebit.

"We want to focus more on our own house events, such as the Open Studio event, which we held this year in Berlin," Nokia spokeswoman Kristina Bohlmann said Tuesday.

Nokia will continue to exhibit at the 3GSM show, a key event for the mobile phone industry and one that the Finnish manufacturer prefers to use to announce new products, according to Bohlmann. "The two shows are only about three weeks apart, and 3GSM comes first, so it's just more important for industry news," she said.

Enthusiasm for Cebit among manufacturers of consumer electronics products has been on the wane in recent years, due largely to the perception of many companies that the big and costly show mainly draws business people rather than consumers.

Last year, Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV pulled out of Cebit, and some other big consumer electronics manufacturers, including LG Electronics Inc., are rumored to be mulling a no-show as well.

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