|An Interview with CeBIT Worldwide Events Director
|Hoppe: Jordanian IT companies should target Eurasian markets
CeBIT Bilisim Eurasia was held for the fourth time in Istanbul, Turkey, between 2 and 7 September, 2003.
Zeid Nasser, attended this event and spoke to Mr. Michael Hoppe, Project Director of CeBIT Events Worldwide at Deutsche Messe, about CeBIT Bilisim Eurasia and how it can serve countries of the region including Jordan.
Could you first give us some background on CeBIT Bilisim Eurasia ?
We as Deutsche Messe were approached by InterPro in 1999 to jointly organize this show. This year, 2003, is the fourth time we co-organize this event with our Turkish partners, following the success of the 1999, 2001 and 2002 shows.
Here it is important to note that Bilisim will always be a Turkish show, there is no question about it, and that's a good thing because we believe in local success first and the special aspects of every region of the world. In China, America and Hannover the CeBIT shows differ with regard to resembling their surrounding markets and environments.
How has CeBIT Bilisim developed this year ?
You can see a big improvement and changes in many aspects related to organization. The moment we decided this would become a CeBIT show we wanted to give it this 'made in Hannover' quality based on our long experience as a company in shows and fairs. For international exhibitors this is important, as they want to have the same standards to ensure they come again. That is our goal, that is what we are here, to bring this international attitude to Bilisim and I think we have made a big improvement over the years and, every year, you will see more.
The bigger number of international exhibitors reflects the success of our efforts, 69 companies from 20 countries, which is a record number for this show compared to around forty companies last year.
Tell us about your efforts to attract more visitors and exhibitors to CeBIT Bilisim Eurasia?
Regarding CeBIT Bilisim, we have worked very hard and invested a lot in international promotion to visitors. Many staff members from Deutsche Messe, including myself, have visited countries in the region. My colleague Ms. Doris Petersen, for example, went to Jordan, Syria, India and other countries.
Also, all of our representatives in different countries are involved in this effort. A good example is that we have seen results from certain countries were we have held press conferences and concentrated our efforts. For example, we did not have a single exhibitor from Greece last year. We visited that country and now we have four in this year's show.
The quality and number of visitors are very important to our exhibitors. It's like who comes first, the hen or the egg, surely you need to work on both visitor promotion and exhibitors simultaneously.
These things take time. CeBIT Hannover did not become a seven thousand-exhibitor show in the first year. It started in 1986 and has grown from there.
How do you utilize the strength of the CeBIT name to market and promote shows like CeBIT Bilisim Eurasia?
All our CeBIT events are marketed through our international activities and press conferences. CeBIT is a strong brand worldwide and we use that to promote newer shows like CeBIT Bilisim.
How do you compare the scope of CeBIT Hannover to that of Bilisim and which countries are going to come to CeBIT Bilisim?
In Hannover, exhibitors and visitors are interested in Germany, Western Europe and the international scope of CeBIT Hannover.
Here in Turkey, it's mainly companies interested in the Turkish market and, then, neighboring countries. The markets with a lot of promise at this stage are in Southern Europe like Italy, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece. Our other focus at the moment is Russia and the ex-Soviet republics but they will take some time, possibly up to 5 years to attract the kind of number of exhibitors that we would like to see.
We are also giving attention to countries like Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, which are also close markets.
What do you expect from Jordanian companies, with regard to CeBIT Bilisim Eurasia
If Jordanian companies see the potential in the Eurasia region, especially by coming to this show year after year, whether as visitors or exhibitors, and seeing more Eurasian exhibitors from Southern and Eastern Europe and ex-Soviet Republics; they will realize that Turkey is a good platform to enter those markets.
So, Jordanian exhibitors and visitors will still go to other regional shows, like exhibitions in the Gulf, but here they will have a different platform into different markets. Also, here they will meet different people presenting different opportunities.
We will encourage Jordanian exhibitors through offering a special, discounted package, possibly as part of a Jordan pavilion. We are in close contact with our local representative in Jordan, Mr. Khaled Tillawi, to make an effort to support and subsidize the idea of a Jordan pavilion. Next year, we aim to have a Jordanian delegation. We can also organize a Eurasian matchmaking service, which will serve exhibitors and visitors from all countries and add to their benefits of coming to CeBIT Bilisim Eurasia.
Jordanian companies need to have a clear, strategic approach to this market, as part of a long-term plan, as our experience with events shows that it takes around 3 years of attending an event to realize the desired results. One year is not a sufficient measure of results.